New report highlights drop in Alaska Crime

The Department of Public Safety has published the Crime in Alaska 2019 report, noting a decrease in Alaska’s overall crime rate by nearly 10%. The number of reported offenses is the second lowest level in five years, mirroring the national downward trend in crime rates.

While Alaska’s reported violent crime rate decreased almost 2%, the reported murder rate increased significantly from 2018 to 2019. Alaska’s property crime rate decreased 11.4% in 2019 and in the last five years, only 2015 had a lower reported property crime rate. Motor Vehicle Theft offenses saw a 34.1% crime rate decrease in 2019.

The Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program is a nationwide cooperative effort by federal, state, city, county and tribal law enforcement agencies to report data on crimes reported in their jurisdiction. The document is a major resource for measuring the trend and distribution of crime in Alaska. In 2019, 32 agencies reported crime data to DPS, and all thirty-two agencies provided twelve months of crime data to the department. These agencies represent 99.5% of the state’s population.

“While it is encouraging that crime, in general, has decreased in Alaska, public safety requires a long-term, comprehensive effort with laser focus on supporting survivors and holding offenders accountable. We know there is still much work that can be done to keep Alaskans safe,” said Commissioner Amanda Price, Department of Public Safety. “The DPS is aggressively working on its recruitment efforts to bring a larger law enforcement presence across Alaska. Additionally, we continue to partner with our federal and local law enforcement counterparts to do what we can to collectively further decrease crime across our state.”

Caution should be exercised when comparing data from year to year and making conclusions as the report does not account for when an incident actually occurred, it accounts for when it was reported. For example, a burglary or theft occurring in November of one year may not have been discovered and reported until February of the next year. The incident is not retroactively applied to a previous year’s data, it is counted in the year it was reported. The same applies for assaults, sexual assaults and homicides.