Fish House Crime Watch

Crime on the Rise
Crime is on the increase throughout the U.S. and our peaceful Minnesota lakes are not immune. These lakes become small towns filled with thousands of fish houses every winter. Most are located in rural areas where law enforcement is responsible for patrolling hundreds of square miles. It is difficult to give lakes the attention needed to deter criminal activity. Sportsmen and women can help law enforcement and conservation officers by being concerned and aware of the activity around them and reporting unsafe or illegal activity as soon as possible.

Variety of Criminal Activity
  • Breaking into a fish house, vehicle, or a house / cabin on shore
  • Running into fish houses with a vehicle
  • Driving recklessly
  • Juveniles having a drinking party
Fish House Crime Watch
The Fish House Crime Watch is a pact to actively lookout for one another, to promote the personal safety of ourselves and others and to protect our property and the property of neighboring anglers.

Join the Crime Watch
You should really consider joining the Fish House Crime Watch when you put your fish house on the lake, no matter where in the state it is located. Consider this - the average fish house is equipped with $300 - $500 or more in sporting goods and personal property, depending on how comfortable you like to be. Criminals know that some of us don't remove our equipment each time we leave. They also know that fish houses, by the nature of their construction, are sometimes not very secure. This makes them a desirable target for thieves intent upon taking your property.

Three elements are necessary for crime to exist - Ability, Desire and Opportunity. The criminal must possess the ability to enter your fish house, the desire for your property, and the opportunity to take it. Here is what you can do to affect all three areas. The ability to enter your house is affected by good physical security measures, desire is lessened by marking your property with Operation Identification, and the opportunity to take your equipment doesn't exist if it isn't in the fish house.

Reporting a Crime
The police need to know as much of the following information as you can provide:
  • The number of suspects,
  • Tall / short, small / medium / large build, color of hair / mustache, eyewear
  • A brief clothing description (color / type of hat/coat),
  • Objects or weapons they're carrying,
Remember that the thief may be the owner, occupant or visitor from a neighboring fish house or a house / cabin on shore. If the suspects are in or on a vehicle, a description including the make, model, and license plate number or DNR registration would be ideal.

In poor conditions, try to see:
  • If the color is light or dark
  • If the body is old or new, big or small
  • The type of vehicle (car, pickup, van ATV or snowmobile)
  • Markings on the vehicle
  • The shape of or absence of headlights / taillights
  • The number of people in or on the vehicle
  • The direction of travel, if they're leaving
While you are waiting for that fish to bite, create a scenario in your mind involving a theft, suspicious activity, medical emergency or fire. Think about what you would do, how you would describe the situation, suspects and vehicle and where you would go to report your observations. When you think through your options in advance, you are better prepared to act if you need to. Above all, never try to take the situation in your own hands. Neither your personal property nor another's is more valuable than your safety!

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