Rape, Robbery Up in Anchorage

This graph depicts the trend in forcible rapes in Anchorage from 2007-2011. Graph from the Anchorage Police Department’s 2011 Uniform Crime Report.

An annual report on crime in Anchorage reveals the number of rapes and robberies in the city are up. Rapes are up nearly 6 percent from 2010 to 2011. And Robberies are up about 1 percent.

Mayor Dan Sullivan used his weekly press briefing to highlight the report. Police Chief Mark Mew was on hand to explain the numbers. According to the report, there were 264 rapes in Anchorage in 2010. In 2011 there were 283.

“The forcible rapes are up by 19 over the previous year,” Parker said. “I want to make sure that you understand that we are talking about forcible rapes here, we’re not talking about the overall sexual assault picture.”

Next year, Mew says, instead of forcible rape the FBI will use a new category called sexual assault, which encompasses a broader range of illegal sexual conduct. The numbers come from the 2011 Uniform Crime Report. The report has been around since the 1930’s. The figures are compiled by the Anchorage Police Department and the FBI publishes them each year. In addition to an increase in the number of rapes, there was also a slight uptick in robberies.

This graph shows the trend of robberies in Anchorage from 2007-2011. Graph from the Anchorage Police Department’s 2011 Uniform Crime Report.

“The robberies are up. There are 11 more than the previous year. But that’s from a place that was near historic lows. So we’re still happy about where the robbery numbers are. And we think that those low robbery numbers are due to our shift in focus to street level drugs,” Mew said.

Mew says he believes that faster turnaround of drug cases is helping lock up offenders quicker, keeping robbery numbers down. He also noted that population growth is also a possible explanation for the increase in both rapes and robberies. The police service area for Anchorage grew by around 4,200 people between 2010 and 2011.

The other crime categories tracked in the Unified crime report are Murder and Non-negligent Homicide, Aggravated Assault, Burglary, Larceny-Theft and Motor Vehicle Theft – all of which went down in 2011.

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Daysha Eaton, KMXT - Kodiak
Daysha Eaton is a contributor with the Alaska Public Radio Network. Daysha Eaton holds a B.A. from Evergreen State College, and a M.A. from the University of Southern California. Daysha got her start in radio at Seattle public radio stations, KPLU and KUOW. Before coming to KBBI, she was the News Director at KYUK in Bethel. She has also worked as the Southcentral Reporter for KSKA in Anchorage. Daysha's work has appeared on NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered", PRI's "The World" and "National Native News". She's happy to take assignments, and to get news tips, which are best sent via email. Daysha became a journalist because she believes in the power of storytelling. Stories connect us and they help us make sense of our world. They shed light on injustice and they comfort us in troubled times. She got into public broadcasting because it seems to fulfill the intention of the 4th Estate and to most effectively apply the freedom of the press granted to us through the Constitution. She feels that public radio has a special way of moving people emotionally through sound, taking them to remote places, introducing them to people they would not otherwise meet and compelling them to think about issues they might ordinarily overlook.