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Prompt crime-solving puts wrongdoing wave in check ...: our view

What's all this in the headlines lately? "String of robberies keeps Duluth police occupied" ... "Gunfire forced campers to hide" ... "Charges filed in BWCAW rampage" ... "Armed men break into house, tie mother and son."...

What's all this in the headlines lately? "String of robberies keeps Duluth police occupied" ... "Gunfire forced campers to hide" ... "Charges filed in BWCAW rampage" ... "Armed men break into house, tie mother and son."

And that's only a partial list from the past few weeks. Crime certainly seems to be on the rise in the Northland, though whether year-end statistical reports bear that out remains to be seen. The rash may be a bump in bad behavior or only a rise of more attention-getting exploits.

Either way, residents of Northeastern Minnesota who are feeling a bit uneasy of late can take some comfort in this: The suspected bad guys are getting nabbed -- quickly. And credit for that goes to the law enforcement officers from Duluth to Eveleth to Ely and everywhere in between. Aiding them have been the efforts of the county sheriffs' departments, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the U.S. Forest Service andothers.

Some cases have been solved with police having almost nothing to go on. In the early reports of a high-profile Congdon Park home invasion in August, police were said to be looking for suspects "described as white and wearing hooded sweatshirts, turtlenecks and sunglasses to cover their faces." Lots of luck pursuing that lead.

But pursue it they did, and Duluth police, like the Mounties, got their men, traveling to St. Paul and Two Harbors to apprehend the suspects.

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A more tragic crime involving an alleged Two Harbors assailant (and there is no evidence yet to document a crime wave there, either) did not go unsolved long, with police making an arrest two weeks after the Aug. 29 murder of a Cook woman in Eveleth. The suspect allegedly brought himself to the attention of law enforcement by calling 911 following the crime to say he had heard about it and wanted to report he had been in the area.

If a break like that doesn't happen, there's always the help of residents and even tourists. Just this week, Duluth police publicized the detailed description ("300 pounds ... chest tattoos") of a woman they believed helped rob two convenience stores and a credit union. The phones started ringing, with one tipster saying she was waiting for a bus downtown. Sure enough, she was, and police arrived before the No. 2 did.

And last month, after men in motorboats started terrorizing campsites in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness -- shooting off weapons, including a high-powered, semi-automatic assault-style rifle, and threatening to kill and rape campers -- enough of those campers used cell phones to notify authorities. Determining where the calls were coming from and when, officers tracked the suspects to a boat launch. More arrests were made without incident.

"Our crime rates ebb and flow," Duluth Police Chief Gordon Ramsay told the News Tribune editorial page earlier this year, meaning the recent rash of wrongdoing very well may be a cyclical "flow."

But the crack police work, boosted by an involved and engaged community, has done wonders to ebb that tide.

Congratulations on a job well done.

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