The Anchorage Police Department reported this week that calls for police assistance appear to have decreased in the city this year, compared to the last three years.
Reports of assault, thefts and property crimes are all trending somewhat down, according to Chief Justin Doll, who presented the statistics to the assembly’s Public Safety Committee on Wednesday.
Doll said for the most part, he doesn’t think the downward trend is related to the pandemic.
“I don’t think so, because we saw these trends begin kind of the end of last year, or maybe last fall and continue into this year,” he said. “I think the one exception to that might be shoplifts. I suspect there is a likelihood that this category has been impacted somewhat by shops being closed.”
A spokesperson for the police department said they believe increased staffing efforts that began seven years ago could be a contributing factor to the decline.
APD data showed homicide calls are down significantly. Reports of theft are down by nearly half from 2017. Stolen vehicle reports are down almost two-thirds from a peak in 2018. Calls about violent robberies are up slightly from last year, but reports of assaults and sexual assaults are slightly down. Doll said they look at the number of calls for service from citizens as a way to measure crime rates.
“When we sort of talk about crime rates, or, does it feel like things are getting better or getting worse? I think calls for service are a good indicator, because that’s what people are seeing and calling and telling us,” he said
But not all calls for service result in police logging an actual crime, so Doll said these numbers will be different from the annual verified crime statistics APD reports at the end of each year.