JPD Chief Bryce Johnson on crime rate increase, decrease in use of force on Action Line

    The Juneau Police Department has finalized its annual report for last year which reveals a double digit increase in the crime rate.

    Posted Wednesday, May 18th, 2016 4:03pm by Lance David

    The Juneau Police Department has finalized its annual report for last year which reveals a double digit increase in the crime rate.

    The report was the subject at hand with JPD Police Chief Bryce Johnson on Action Line Wednesday.

    "The total Part I crime increase was 39.5%, which is a big chunk," Johnson began. "The largest increase was the homicide rate. Those numbers were small, thank goodness, but they were big for us. It's unprecedented; we've never experienced that before, and that kind of taxed and stretched our capabilities to their very limit. I'm quite proud of the detectives and officers who worked tirelessly on those cases and did a great job. The four homicides last year resulted in an increase of 300%."

    Part I and Part II crimes refer to the categories of crime published in the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports. Part I crimes are also known as index crimes, and are serious, typically violent offenses that include aggravated assault, arson, forcible rape, murder, robbery, burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft

    The number of Part I crime cases solved were up.

    "They're above the national average by a good click. The one exception to that is our clearance rate in our murder cases because we still have the one open case, which is the double homicide from last fall. Once we get that open case completed, our clearance rate will go from 50% to 100%. Our clearance rate on rape is 61%. The national average is 38%, so we're able to resolve many more of them. On robberies, we're just a little bit above the national average. Our clearance rate on aggravated assault is almost 78%, where the average is 56%."

    Johnson was also asked about Part II crimes, which tend to be nonviolent offenses such as simple assault, loitering, forgery, embezzlement, public intoxication, or vandalism.

    "The Part II crimes are things that we would qualify as "quality of life" crimes," Johnson explained. "We don't do an overall total for Part 2 crimes, but simple assault - people getting into fights downtown and things like that - was up about 11%, from 528 in 2014 to 589 in 2015. Vandalism cases were up as well, from 177 to 245, which is about a 38% increase."

    According to Johnson, simple assault and vandalism are the most reported Part II crimes.

    Even though the number of arrests increased by just over 16%, the use of force declined.

    "Of the 1,400 arrests we made in 2014, 39 of those cases required the officer to use force. In 2015, we had the increase in the number of arrests we made, but the number of times we had to use force decreased to 26 different instances. That's about a 1.5% use of force rate, which is quite low. What we saw is an increase in crime and arrests, but officers had to use less force in order to detain and apprehend those suspects."

    No shots were fired by police officers in Juneau last year.

    Interestingly, calls for service last year decreased by nearly two percent.


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