Although rural crime rates are lower than those in urban areas, public safety takes a big share of local government budgets outstate. So it has come under scrutiny in a time of fiscal restraint. At the same time, in areas where populations are dwindling and aging, security concerns can change. Telecommunications, surveillance and other technology are changing how law enforcement deals with safety. And for some, what is needed is a greater sense of personal responsibility when it comes to their safety.
This special Ground Level news report explores how new approaches to old problems are offering both hope and new dilemmas.
MPR's The Daily Circuit takes a closer look at rural domestic violence; taking a closer look at the way domestic violence plays out in rural communities.
We asked Ralph A. Weisheit, a criminal justice professor at Illinois State University, and Joseph F. Donnermeyer, professor of rural sociology at Ohio State University, about rural crime and what is unique about it.
The concentration of handgun permits is much higher in northeastern Minnesota than in southwestern Minnesota, a distribution pattern common to many phenomena in the state. Why is that?
Bird Island is home to just over 1,000 people. To save tax dollars, it disbanded its full-time police department at the end of June and now contracts for law enforcement with the sheriff's office.
Making do is a recurrent theme for the team of 16 officers, deputies, sheriffs and chiefs from a range of western Minnesota law enforcement agencies making up the West Central S.W.A.T.
The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe has joined with two northern Minnesota counties to create a "wellness court" that for the first time is letting tribal and district court judges act together to handle addiction and substance abuse.
Like an increasing number of Minnesota towns, Fertile relies on the county sheriff for law enforcement. Some residents worry more about safety.
A situation tailor made to overwhelm the emergency services of a small town turned into a model of local, state and even federal cooperation. Sometimes Homeland Security money does more than fight terrorism.
Their budget under pressure, Duluth police have turned to video camera surveillance to fight crime. They say it works. But they aren't cheap.
District Judge Jerry Seibel rides a circuit to preside over cases throughout western Minnesota. Increasingly, that means turning on the TV and manning a remote control.
Many law enforcement officials think airborne drones can make life safer, but the technology scares some.
One Minnesota business is experiencing a boom because more farms stand empty and farmers feel the need to provide their own security.
Every year, at least several Minnesota towns disband their police departments, typically in an effort to save money. Most contract with the county sheriff’s department for law enforcement.
Like MPR News’ Ground Level project, Twin Cities Public Television is looking at how state, county and local governments are adapting one of the most important services they deliver—public safety. The TPT effort is part of a two-year-long project called Redesigning MN.
Here are video clips of two of the stories that are part of a new hour-long documentary called “Margin of Safety.”
You can see the broadcast at 8 p.m. Friday Aug. 17 on TPT Channel 2.1., it will also be rebroadcast at 8 p.m. Sunday Aug. 19 on TPT MN Channel 2.2.
Twin Cities Area Schedule
tpt Channel 2.1
Friday, August 17 @ 8:00 pm
Saturday, August 18 @ 2:00 am
tpt MN Channel 2.2
Sunday, August 19 @ 8:00 pm
Sunday, August 26 @ 2:00 am
Sunday, August 26 @ 8:00 am
Sunday, August 26 @ 2:00 pm
tpt Life Channel 2.3
Sunday, August 26 @ 12:00 pm
(For those outside the Twin Cities area, check your local listings for the channel.)
For more information go to www.redesigningmn.org
We identify topics that are significant and complex and that play out uniquely at the local level. We want to explore those issues in which people taking action in their communities make a difference and can serve as guides for others.
Ground Level launched in early 2010 and shines a light on a variety of topics, from the growing complexity of Minnesota's local food system to cities preparing for new fiscal realities, from exurban growth in Baldwin Township to the quest to expand broadband access across the state.
We experiment with coverage on a variety of platforms. This includes text, audio and video online, of course - the Ground Level blog, a series of topics pages and social networking, for example. It also includes on-air coverage, public forums both virtual and real-world and collaboration with community-based media.
Our audience consists of Minnesotans interested in community life, particularly those who are taking an active part in it or helping others do the same.
Ground Level is very much an experiment -- in finding ways to learn about and tell stories, in working with other organizations, in walking up to the line between providing insight and advocating specific actions. Our goal is to inform and give people the ability and incentive to engage with their community. We invite your feedback and your ideas, via the blog, twitter at @MPRGroundLevel, phone calls, emails, whatever. Join us.
About the team:
Dave Peters directs MPR's project on community journalism, looking for ways Minnesota residents are making their towns, cities and neighborhoods better places to live. He joined MPR News in 2009 after more than 30 years as a newspaper and online reporter and editor. Contact Dave
Jennifer Vogel reports and writes for the Ground Level project, focusing on complex topics that play out in Minnesota's communities and that involve residents getting engaged with the challenges of the day. She is a longtime Twin Cities writer and editor who joined MPR News and Ground Level in January 2010. Contact Jennifer
Support for Ground Level is provided
by the Bush Foundation.