Tips for Staying Safe as Crime Increases in Region

By Councilman Charles Anderson, Public Safety Chair


Marine on St Croix enjoys a largely peaceful existence. Occasionally, however, crime trends from other parts of the metropolitan area reach our quaint and sometimes complacent village.

I’m not talking about “minor” crimes or “quality-of-life” concerns like loud motorcycles, speeding vehicles, airboats on the river, dog poop in the parks, downtown parking congestion, or live music concerns or fireworks complaints. Those are important, but that’s not the focus here.

Most of the criminal activity we experience falls under “property crimes”, or crimes that focus on people who want to take things that don’t belong to them in order to re-sell or pawn those things to support a substance dependency or other deviance.

Less frequent, but more devastating crimes “against persons” also affect our community: Extrinsic events like robbery, occupied burglaries or home invasions (meaning someone is in the home when it happens), and carjackings.

The Twin Cities and eastern suburbs, to include Stillwater, have experienced an increase in these more serious crimes. The following recommendations for personal and property safety may help residents protect and prevent some crimes from happening.

We live in a VERY safe community, but being situationally aware is something we should all do anyway, both for ourselves, our family, and our neighbors. Some of these tips might be best put to use when Mariners travel outside our little Mayberry town on errands, work, or for recreation. Prudence, attentiveness, and common sense are your first, and almost always, best defense:

  • Be aware of surroundings, including being aware of the people nearby.
  • Be a good witness. Call 911 if you see signs that someone is being threatened or assaulted. Take note of any vehicle information or suspect descriptions so responding officers know what or who to look for.
  • Keep distance between you and anyone you don't know who approaches you and be alert.
  • Do not give your cellphone to anyone who approaches you asking if they can use it to make a call.
  • Don't carry additional documents, payment cards, or valuables other than what you absolutely need. Don’t leave items that may appear valuable or contain personal identifying information in plain view in your vehicle.
  • Do not leave your vehicle running while unattended and never leave a key inside a parked vehicle.



  • Pay attention to your surroundings in parking lots, ramps, and at gas stations.
  • Be smart when conducting transactions from online marketplaces at physical locations (Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, etc.).
  • Memorize your license plate in case you should ever need to reference it.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and avoid being alone in your vehicle in certain areas, including isolated roads and parking lots.
  • Don't sit in your vehicle with the windows down and the doors unlocked.
  • Park in well-lit areas and if concerned, find a security guard to accompany you to your parked vehicle.
  • Make sure your cellphone is charged and accessible.
  • Be aware of tactics carjackers use, including bumping into your vehicle, pretending to be stranded, and flashing their vehicle's lights at you. If you feel a threat, drive to the nearest police or fire station.
  • Keep distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of yours if you need to drive around it and make a quick escape.


Things you can do at home:

  • Lock your doors and windows when not at home.
  • Keep your garage door locked.
  • Leave a couple interior lights on when not at home if you know it will get dark while you are away.
  • Let a trusted neighbor or family member know when you will be gone for an extended period of time (e.g. vacation).
  • Consider whether a home alarm or monitoring system is right for you.
  • Consider whether or not exterior lighting near an entrance to your home is needed.
  • Keep an updated inventory of high value items (include serial numbers). Not only might this help in locating stolen property, but will also be useful if there is an insurance claim.


Anyone with questions or concerns about crime prevention as well as home and business security can contact Washington County crime prevention specialists at 651-439-9381. Visit for more information.

Point of contact for this message is Councilman Charles Anderson, Public Safety Chair, or 651-592-9449.