And Peterson’s work appears to be having a preventative effect, Maurer said. Deputies conducting search warrants previously saw electronic benefit transfer cards from multiple people in the residences of some criminals. They’re not seeing that lately, leading Maurer to believe word is getting out that the county is cracking down on fraud and prompting some of the criminals to move to locations where enforcement is more lax.
Those locations may become more scarce in the future. Already, Watonwan County is instituting a program modeled on Blue Earth County’s program. Nicollet County is looking at it and other counties have been asking questions.
“If other places are looking at it as a model, it’s indicative that we did it the right way,” Maurer said.
Claussen said he’d like to see all surrounding counties move in that direction.
“We don’t want the criminal behavior to just go across the border,” he said.