Thursday, May 23, 2013
Report: Violent Crimes Down, Thefts Up In Anchorage
Every year the FBI collects data and compares crime rates from city to city.
ANCHORAGE—The unsolved shooting of Anchorage police Officer Jason Allen could have made the streets of Anchorage a little safer for the rest of us, according to APD Chief Mark Mew as the city released numbers that show violent crimes are down but burglaries and thefts are up.
“The two officer-involved shootings we had (in 2009) have really caused us to dig deeply into street level crime, and I think there is a fair chance that's producing some results,” Mew said of the data in the Uniform Crime Report, which the FBI collects every year to compare crime from city to city.
On Jan. 9, 2009, Anchorage police Officer Jason Allen was shot in Fairview. His assailants are still at large.
“There was zero tolerance out there for months and I like to think it still kind of is,” Mew said.
Exactly six months after Allen was shot, Officer Jean Mills was shot on June 9 in East Anchorage. Police say her gunman later shot and killed himself.
“It sort of retooled our thinking about some things and maybe we're seeing the back end of it now,” Mew said.
According to the UCR, Anchorage saw one less murder in 2010 than in 2009—from 14 to 13.
The number of reported rapes also went down: from 282 to 264, but Mew said that number is not accurate because the national standard, set in the 1930's, does not include all the different types of sexual assaults as defined today in Alaska.
Robberies are also down from 534 to 454, but aggravated assaults are up from 1,658 to 1,701.
But Anchorage did see a 4 percent increase in thefts.
“Anecdotally, I think we're seeing less violent gang-type activity this last year,” Mew said. “That may be a result of our street-level efforts, I’m not sure, but I think it might be seen here in the reduction of armed robberies. Either we're taking them off the streets or they're laying low and they're doing less violent-type crimes that would catch our attention. That might explain why thefts are up a little bit.”