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A woman talking to a police officer.

Looking at crime and victimization head-on

May 21

Child abduction, sexual assault, murder: These are things most of us don’t want to think about. And the idea of these and other crimes happening in our own communities can make our minds recoil. Fortunately, there are passionate people in our state who devote their lives to thinking about – and, more importantly, doing something about – violence, crime and victimization. For 30 years, the Minnesota Office of Justice Programs (OJP) has gathered crime victims, victim service providers and advocates, law enforcement, court and corrections personnel, and other professionals...

Smoke from the explosion at the Husky Oil Refinery in Superior, Wis., rises over homes nearby

For emergencies, hope isn’t a plan

May 17

None of us can see the future, so it’s impossible to know if and when an emergency will occur. But simply hoping a disaster won’t happen won’t help you survive and recover when it does. Hope is good, but it’s not a plan. So when something happens like the April 26 fire at the Husky Refinery in Superior, Wisconsin, you need to be ready. There are two refineries in the Twin Cities area—one in St. Paul Park, and another on the border of Rosemount and Inver Grove Heights. Minnesota is also home to two nuclear generating plants as well as many other types of facilities that use...

State Fire Marshal Bruce West helped Red Cross volunteers install five free smoke alarms

Sound the Alarm can save your life

May 14

What a difference an hour makes. Caroline has lived in her house in St. Paul’s east side for over 30 years. But Caroline admits that never once, in all that time, did it occur to her to install smoke alarms. Not until the Red Cross hung a flyer on her door about their Sound the Alarm program, anyway. But 60 minutes after volunteers from the Red Cross and the State Fire Marshal Division crossed her threshold, Caroline had five strategically placed smoke alarms, a fire escape plan, and much more knowledge than she had before about fire prevention...

A forest fire

Spring has sprung — and so has wildfire season

May 10

The snow blower is finally starting to gather dust in the garage. Your down parka has resumed its place at the back of your closet. Yes, winter is finally over, as evidenced by the warm temperatures, low humidity and comfortable breezes. And although these weather conditions are ideal for spring picnics and walks, they’re also perfect for wildfires. In fact, did you know we’ve already had several Red Flag Warnings this year? A Red Flag Warning means there are weather conditions occurring now or soon that are perfect for fires...


Screen shot of the Meth Offender Registry on the BCA websiteRemember meth? It’s still here.

May 7

It seems as if not a day goes by that you don’t hear about the opioid crisis in the news. Addiction to painkillers and heroin is very much top-of-mind right now. But that doesn’t mean that other drugs – like methamphetamine – have gone away. Unfortunately, meth is still very much a problem. Meth labs—the places where criminals cook this powerful central nervous system stimulant – aren’t as pervasive as they were a decade ago, but it’s not because meth use itself is down. It turns out meth is relatively cheap to buy from traffickers from Mexico or the southwest U.S. In fact, 2017 was a record year for meth...

A rider naviating through cones on a motorcycle training course

Rev up your riding skills this season

May 3

Sure, you can ride your motorcycle. You have an endorsement on your driver’s license for it and everything. But can you complete the iron cross? What about tight turns in confined spaces? Are you good at formation riding? If want to take your riding skills beyond basic, the Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center has just the thing. They offer the MN Advanced Rider Course at five training sites: Brooklyn Park, Roseau, White Bear Lake, Willmar and Virginia. The all-day course costs $75 and will help you sharpen your hazard-avoidance skills...