Anchorage neighborhood sends letter to mayor asking for help with rising crime
Residents near Valley of the Moon Park are sending a desperate plea for help to the Anchorage mayor’s office, saying the rise in crime is now unmanageable and they don’t feel safe. This comes just two weeks after a double homicide near the bike trail in Valley of the Moon Park, and a warning from police for people to be extra careful going outside at night.
A memorial for one of the latest double homicide victims, 34-year-old Kevin Turner, placed near the bike trail where he died, serves as a somber reminder to those passing by that the park has seen violence.
“I was a lot more comfortable before these things started happening. And that includes what happened at Ship Creek and what happened here recently, and at Point Woronzof,” said Teresa Arnold, referencing three double homicides in Anchorage this year that occurred on the trail system. “You put all those things together, and it becomes pretty alarming and shocking.”
More than 90 residents signed the letter to the mayor, pleading for help.
“There’s just definitely this feeling of not feeling safe in the neighborhood,” said Heather Knowlan, noting homeless camps have been in the woods near the park for as long as she can remember, but now people are getting bold and brazen, sleeping just a few feet off the trail or in the middle of the park in broad daylight.
Arnold and Knowlan didn’t sign the letter, but live near the park and say they hope something can be done to make the area safer. Arnold said she’s experienced the rise in petty crime.
The letter says, “These property crimes, and APD’s lack of response, have been frustrating—but, to some degree, manageable. There are steps we can take to protect our property. We lock our doors obsessively, even if we’re just in the backyard mowing the grass. We have our packages delivered to our workplaces instead of our homes. Many of us have bought locking mailboxes, installed motion-sensing lights, and are researching security systems. But the surge in violent crime is not something we can compensate for. Within the past two weeks alone, in our traditionally safe and quiet neighborhood, an armed robbery has taken place, a woman has been stabbed with a machete, and two men have been shot dead.”
“People are finally starting to get to their breaking point where they’re tired and they wanna do something about it,” said Knowlan.
For some, that means talking. Rumors are starting to swirl on social media. One man claiming sources inside the justice system know about a serial killer.
In an interview last week, KTVA asked if APD is considering the possibility of a serial offender. Spokesperson Renee Oistad responded, “Right now, we don’t have anything to connect the unsolved crimes. We’re going to look of course at which crimes were committed by which people, if they’re related. Obviously, those are all things we’re going to look into.”
She confirmed in an email Monday, that stands true.
“The information we have put out thus far is all we are going to at this time. We have no further comment on open and active investigations,” she said.
What people are saying on social media may not be real, but the fear in Arnold’s neighborhood is.
“I’m saddened and disappointed that this community that I grew up in has come to this,” she said.
The mayor’s office said in an email Monday night, “We will be responding with a letter. APD and the mayor are organizing a neighborhood meeting, as well as meeting with community councils in the coming weeks.”
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