2017 “Crime in Alaska” Report Released
August 18, 2018
The FBI assumed responsibility for the Uniform Crime Report Program in the 1930s to help generate national crime statistics. The Alaska Department of Public Safety is the UCR administrator for Alaska; state statute requires police agencies to submit data on crimes within their jurisdiction to the Department for tabulation and reporting. 32 police agencies covering 99.5% of the state’s population submitted data for all 12 months of 2017.
According to the report, statewide crime rates rose 6% between 2016 and 2017 across all categories. The violent crime rate (murder, rape, robbery, assault) rose 6%. From 5 years ago, the violent crime rate rose 35%.
Statewide, 60% of homicides involved a firearm in 2017, down from 83% in 2016.
Statewide the rate of property crimes (burglary, larceny, vehicle theft, arson) saw an increase of 5% in 2017 and rose 23% over the last 5 years.
A total of 1,073 rapes were reported statewide in 2017; 76 attempted rapes were reported and are included in the total. Arrest data indicated 20.6% of the persons arrested for rape were juveniles and 99.2% were male. Rapes increased 2.6% from 2016 to 2017. The 2017 Felony Sex Assault Report will be released later this year, and will contain additional information on sexual assaults across the state.
In 2017, the crime index for rape was calculated and compared to the crime index for rape offenses from 2013 through 2017 (the four years in which the FBI’s revised definition of rape was implemented). Due to the significant difference between the revised definition for 2013 reporting as compared to the legacy definition for 2012 and earlier, the increased rate beginning in 2013 and later should be noted with an acknowledgement of that difference.
The crime rate increases are consistent with the Alaska Department of Law’s data on prosecutions. Alaska Deputy Attorney General Robert Henderson testified during the legislative session that felony prosecutions had increased in 2017 mainly in Alaska’s urban hubs - Anchorage and Fairbanks - and western Alaska. The 2016 UCR along with the internal data the State had on prosecutions and law enforcement activity in 2017 spurred Governor Walker to task the Attorney General in conjunction with the Departments of Public Safety, Corrections, and Health and Social Services to create and implement the Public Safety Action Plan.
While the “Crime in Alaska” report is a major resource for determining the trends and distribution of crime statewide, caution should be exercised when comparing year-to-year data and drawing conclusions. Crime rates can be influenced by a wide variety of factors. Caution should also be exercised when comparing Alaska UCR data to that of other states.
The report includes data for all 32 police agencies around the state, such as the Ketchikan Police Department. To read the data included in the report for the locations, download the 2017 Uniform Crime Report to find your location of interest.
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Editing by Mary Kauffman, SitNews
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