Crime rates continue to increase

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) Crime rose nearly 6 percent in both Juneau and Alaska last year according to federal uniform crime reports released by the state.

    The number of violent crimes has risen by 34 percent in the past five years in the state.

    In Juneau, there were more than 2721  crimes reported and 1905 hundred arrests which include 125 juveniles.

    Crime is up by 25 percent over the past five years in Alaska.

    Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan said violent crimes rose by 34 percent and property crimes also rose significantly in the past five years, "All of this coincides with declining state budgets and declining number of public safety personnel that includes prosecutors and police."

    The main reason is the drug addiction problem.

    Juneau statistics included one murder, 49 rapes, 46 robberies, 941 assaults, 326 burglaries, and 1,262 thefts.  There were 95 vehicle thefts, and 271 shoplifting cases.  Some $2.2 million in property was stolen and nearly $8 million was recovered by police.

    The Department of Public Safety has tried to hire more law enforcement officers.  The recruiting class this year totals 47 candidates who are currently being trained in Sitka.

    Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth said the statistics were not a surprise, "This is a significant increase in our crime rate and it is unacceptable.  It is really a reflection of the opioid epidemic being out of control."

    She added the state is treating the drug problem not only as a public safety but as a public health problem.  They have come up with new policies that have saved 140 lives due to drug overdoses in the past year.


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