APD report shows homicide rates jumped in 2022

Anchorage police recently introduced a new program with ‘zero tolerance’ for crime around Sullivan Arena
APD report shows homicide rates jumped in 2022
Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 10:53 AM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Homicide rates saw a significant jump in 2022, according to a report published by the Anchorage Police Department.

Anchorage Police Chief Michael Kerle broke down the municipality’s crime statistics on homicides, other violent crimes, and property crimes at a Public Safety Committee meeting on Wednesday.

“We expected to see a jump in some crime, and unfortunately, homicide was one of the crimes that went up,” Kerle said.

The report shows the total number of homicide victims in 2022 rising to 30 total, one year after 19 were reported. The largest jump came in the second quarter of 2022, when 11 homicides occurred.

Property crimes have been trending down or are just about the same, the report shows, while there’s a slight uptick for stolen vehicles and vandalism.

In addition to the new numbers, Kerle shared information about a new program that includes “zero tolerance” in the area around the Sullivan Arena. That area, according to Kerle, saw a slight increase in assaults.

“Luckily, sexual assaults went down from the previous year and the robberies were slightly up,” Kerle said. “You can see where it’s still trending, you can see where our average is for the past four years — it’s pretty steady.”

Kerle says he believes the slight uptick comes from more people living in Anchorage and more activity on the streets as COVID cases decrease. The amount of calls for service at the Sullivan Arena has also been on the rise since November.

“Certainly, if you look at calls for service specifically at the Sullivan, you are seeing a marked increase month after month,” said Assembly member Felix Rivera, who represents Midtown Anchorage where the Sullivan Arena. “And what I’m really hoping is that’s not a trend that continues.”

The department has been looking into ways to deal with the surrounding areas of the Sullivan Arena so that the people in the area feel served and protected. It implemented a new program on Jan. 23 with the goal of having zero tolerance for crime in the area.

The area of concern involves the blocks located south of East 15th Avenue, east of A Street, west of Gambell Street and north of East 24th Avenue.

“The officers are tasked with foot patrol, traffic enforcement and vehicle enforcement in and around that area, and like the chief indicated, community policing has begun,” Anchorage Lt. Craig Evans said.

The new patrols will utilize six different shifts that begin and end at various times and days, in order to avoid creating a pattern for potential criminals to become familiar with.

“Our goal is to make a great impact,” Evans said. “I talked to the officers for the month of January, and they said as they were doing foot patrolling and out, the citizens in the area contacted them and thanked them for being there in that area.”