'I'm scared', Anchorage neighbors air crime concerns at town hall
Anger and frustration filled a town hall meeting in south Anchorage Monday night -- as neighbors talked about crimes they've experienced in Anchorage. The discussion left lawmakers promising changes.
People packed into the lunch room at Abbott Loop Elementary from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The event was hosted by the district's representative, Charisse Millett, but it drew people from around the city.
For some, it was a chance to voice their concerns face to face with lawmakers and law enforcement.
"I'm scared, I've got dogs, I've got guns, I'm still scared," one woman, who said she lives next to a drug house in Mountain View, told them.
"I'm begging you, be that person who stands up for your constituents!" Noria Clark, a south Anchorage resident said.
Neighbors had harsh words for their lawmakers. And for one law in particular -- Senate Bill 91.
"You know how I even found out about SB 91? My neighbor's house was being burglarized at 11:20 in the morning on a Saturday," said Clark. "We are furious, every neighbor that I've talked to is furious."
"Somebody vandalized my flagpole, $250 worth of damage, but under Senate Bill 91, nobody's going to get prosecuted," said another man.
"The theory was to try to get these folks treatment and not put them back in jail," explained Sen. Kevin Meyer (R-Anchorage), who supported SB 91.
But without funding for treatment, Meyer admits SB 91 isn't working.
"Are you aware that the directive from the Criminal Justice Commission is to save them money?" Butch Moore, whose daughter Bree was murdered in 2014 asked. "There's nothing about public safety. And I guess my question is how's it working out now?"
Now, Meyer who voted for the bill says he shouldn't have.
"We didn't know that 91 was going to cause this," Meyer said. "I already said we made a mistake, we're trying to correct it."
In the meantime, some neighbors warned things are only getting worse.
"It's just a matter of time before some store owner, some homeowner shoots some guy and he's the one that's going to jail," said one neighbor.
Lawmakers will be considering changes to Senate Bill 91 in a special session in Juneau, starting Monday, October 23.