2021 Data Shows Lowest Total Number of Reported Crimes Since 1975
(Anchorage, AK) – The Department of Public Safety has released the 2021 Crime in Alaska Report, its annual publication detailing crimes reported in Alaska, which reveals a 15.2% decrease in Alaska’s overall crime rate. This also reflects the lowest number of reported offenses since 1975 and continues the downward trend in Alaska crime that started in 2018. Alaska’s reported violent crime rate decreased by 9.7% last year; this included fewer instances of murder, robbery, rape, and aggravated assault. Alaska’s property crime rate decreased by 17.3% in 2021, and the total number of reported property offenses was at its lowest level since 1974.
“Public safety has been job number one for my administration since I took office, and we have made historic investments in law enforcement across the state,” said Governor Mike Dunleavy. “With the repeal of the catch and release SB 91 legislation, and the other major steps my team has made over the last four years to make Alaska a safer place I know that we will continue making positive movement towards reducing the high rates of domestic violence and sexual assault that plague our state.”
The Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program is a nationwide effort by federal, state, city, county, and tribal law enforcement agencies to report data on crimes reported in their jurisdiction. The report is a resource for measuring the trend and distribution of crime in Alaska. Under Alaska law, law enforcement agencies in Alaska are required to submit UCR data to the State of Alaska. In 2021, 31 agencies reported crime data to DPS. These agencies represent 99.5% of the state’s population. 2021 is also the first year that a significant number of agencies have participated in the federal National Incident Based Reporting System, or NIBRS, reporting model. This new reporting model captures additional details about the suspects and victims of crime to allow for additional data set tracking. Approximately 66% of Alaska’s law enforcement agencies reported using the NIBRS model.
“While the 2021 crime data continues to show decreasing crime rates, we must not become complacent as a state. Your Alaska Department of Public Safety will continue to work to improve public safety across the state in both urban and rural Alaska,” said Alaska Department of Public Safety Commissioner James Cockrell. “In 2020, crime rates began to increase across the lower 48, however in Alaska, our commonsense approach to public safety and the overwhelming support of Governor Dunleavy, the Alaska Legislature, and the citizens of our state continue to drive crime rates down and make our state a safer place to live, visit, work, and raise a family.”
Caution should be exercised when comparing data from year to year and making conclusions, as the report does not account for when an incident occurred; it accounts for when it was reported. For example, burglary or theft occurring in November of one year may not have been discovered and reported until February of the next year. The incident is not retroactively applied to a previous year’s data; it is counted in the year it was reported. Rape offenses are counted by victim, and each separation of time and place a rape occurs will also be counted. Sexual assaults spanning years will result in numerous counts of rape offenses being reported for a single victim.
The 2021 Crime in Alaska report was authored by the Alaska Department of Public Safety’s Division of Statewide Services. The Division of Statewide Services provides technical and specialized services to the Department of Public Safety and law enforcement agencies across the state. Past Crime in Alaska Reports and Felony-Level Sex Offenses reports can be found online here.
The UCR and Crime in Alaska reports are based on the Federal Bureau of Investigation UCR Program definitions of crimes to ensure consistency and uniformity in reported offenses nationally. The definitions do not always echo state definitions; therefore, federal publications cannot accurately be compared to reports that use the state definitions for crimes as these are unique to each state. Additionally, the population counts for Crime in Alaska come from the US Census.