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Report: Crime in Alaska increased 6 percent in 2017

August 17, 2018

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A report by the Alaska Department of Public Safety shows crime across the state increased by 6 percent last year.

The state compiled data from 32 law enforcement agencies in Alaska, indicating crime has increased by 26 percent over the last five years, KTUU-TV reported .

An assault and a burglary happened every two hours on average in 2017, according to the report released Wednesday. A theft was committed nearly every half-hour, a robbery happened every nine hours, and a killing occurred every six days.

“This is a significant increase in our crime rates and it’s unacceptable,” Alaska Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth said. “We didn’t have these statistics last year, but we knew it. We felt it. We heard it from the public.”

Lindemuth and Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan told reporters this week that the numbers reflect a “perfect storm.” Factors contributing to the crime rise included the budget crisis, the opioid crisis and low staffing in police departments and prosecutor offices.

“Retention and recruitment and the fact that we don’t have enough law enforcement officers in Alaska is a critical component of the issues that we are facing,” Lindemuth said.

The biggest crime spikes happened in western Alaska, Anchorage, and the Matanuska-Susitna Valley to the north of the state’s largest city, Lindemuth said.

With Alaska receiving the federal designation of high-intensity drug-trafficking area, it will get federal funding to address the opioid crisis. That paired with state measures aims to cut back on crime.

“This is not something where there is a silver bullet to address crime. This is something where there has to be a multi-agency approach,” Lindemuth said.

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Information from: KTUU-TV, http://www.ktuu.com

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