The Department of Public Safety recently published the 2020 Crime in Alaska report, reporting an 18.5 percent decrease in the state’s overall crime rate.

According to a recent press release from DPS, the statewide crime rate reflects the lowest total number of reported offenses since 1975, continuing a downward trend in Alaskan crime from 2018.

“The overall decrease in Alaska’s crime rate is encouraging and shows real progress in our efforts to make Alaska a safe place to live and raise a family. However, we must continue to double-down on our efforts to eliminate the scourge of sexual assault and domestic violence in our state and invest in meaningful public safety in rural Alaska,” said Alaska Department of Public Safety Commissioner James Cockrell. “Every Alaskan, regardless of their address, gender, or race, deserves a life that is free of crime, and the Department of Public Safety is committed to doing our part to meet that goal.”

Alaska’s reported violent crime rate decreased by 3.7% last year, but the crime rate for rape increased slightly from 2019 to 2020.

The state’s property crime rate went down by 22.9% in 2020. According to the press release, this was the lowest rate of reported property offenses since 1974.

Alaska Department of Public Safety’s Division of Statewide Services authored the 2020 Crime in Alaska report.

This data comes from the Uniform Crime Reporting Program, a national effort by federal, state, city, county, and tribal law enforcement agencies to report data on crimes reported in their jurisdiction. The report is designed to be a resource for measuring the trend and distribution of crime in Alaska.

32 law enforcement agencies across Alaska submitted UCR data to the state government in 2020, representing 99.5 percent of the total population.

DPS advises caution to those comparing data from year to year to draw conclusions since the report does not account for when an incident occurred, but when it was reported. Incidents are not retroactively applied to a previous year’s data because they are counted in the year they were reported.

Rape offenses are tallied by victims, with each separation of time and place a rape occurs counted. This means that sexual assaults spanning years will result in numerous counts of rape offenses being reported for a single victim.

The 2020 crime report, past reports, and Felony-Level Sex Offenses reports can be found online at dps.alaska.gov/Statewide/R-I/UCR.

Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at jacob.mann@frontiersman.com

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