A court services officer is shown wearing a body camera. (Photo provided by Alaska Department of Public Safety)

A court services officer is shown wearing a body camera. (Photo provided by Alaska Department of Public Safety)

Latest Alaska crime report shows a 67% increase in murders and a slight overall decrease in crime

The murder rate in Alaska increased dramatically, though there was a slight overall decrease in crime statewide in 2022, according to an Alaska Department of Public Safety report released Monday.

Notably, the number of rape cases reported to law enforcement in Alaska has decreased by nearly 6% compared with the previous year and is at its lowest rate since 2016. Property crimes have decreased nearly 3%, continuing a four-year trend; burglary is down more than 15% and well below the national average.

The overall violent crime rate in the state is up slightly, while the rate of murders increased 67% from 2021 to 2022 and the rate of arson leapt more than 40% from 2021 to 2022. Most homicide victims were male; the most common relationship between victim and offender was “stranger.” The reports characterized most female homicide victims as the “intimate partner” of the offender, a category that includes wives and girlfriends.

“While the 2022 crime data continues to show decreasing crime rates in many categories, we also have significant work to do addressing violent crimes such as murder and aggravated assault,” said Alaska Department of Public Safety Commissioner James Cockrell in a news release. “Alaska State Troopers will continue to work with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to address crime across the state, so that every Alaskan feels safe in their community.”

Gov. Mike Dunleavy lauded the areas where the state improved in a news release and said public safety has been his administration’s top priority since he took office.

“Alaska’s overall crime rate is down, property crime is down, and the rate of sexual assault is down significantly with Western Alaska seeing a decrease of close to 9 percent in felony sex crimes,” he said in the release.” While there is still work to do, I will not take my foot off the pedal and will continue to increase the resources toward public safety, corrections, and prosecutors.”

The state’s yearly crime report is part of an annual, nationwide effort to track crimes. Federal, state, city, county, and tribal law enforcement agencies to report data on crimes reported in their jurisdiction. In 2022, 30 agencies contributed to the report with 12 months of crime data.

• Claire Stremple is a reporter based in Juneau who got her start in public radio at KHNS in Haines, and then on the health and environment beat at KTOO in Juneau. This article originally appeared online at alaskabeacon.com. Alaska Beacon, an affiliate of States Newsroom, is an independent, nonpartisan news organization focused on connecting Alaskans to their state government.

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