Report reveals disproportionate impacts on Alaska Native and African American populations, among other significant findings
ANCHORAGE, AK – The University of Alaska Anchorage Justice Center has released Homicide in Alaska: 1976 – 2016, a new report that compiles 41 years of data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Supplementary Homicide Report. While the FBI publishes annual data on homicides in each U.S. state, this is the first time the Alaska-specific data have been compiled and examined across a multi-year timespan—representing a valuable new resource for data-informed decision-making.
Researchers at the Justice Center conducted a range of statistical analyses as part of the report. Among other findings, the data reveal that the proportion of American Indian/Alaska Native and Black/African American individuals among homicide victims in Alaska is double that of those groups’ overall representation in the state. Similarly, males are killed at disproportionately high rates.
The report also finds that although firearms were the most common weapon used in homicides in Alaska, there were proportional differences among victims according to race and sex groups. Black/African American males represented the largest proportion of victims killed by a firearm (78%), and American Indian/Alaska Native women represented the smallest (36%). American Indian/Alaska Native victims (both male and female) were more likely than members of other race groups to be killed by a knife or cutting instrument.
The researchers also identified significant gender differences in the relationship between victims and offenders. Male victims were most commonly killed by a friend or acquaintance, while female victims were most commonly killed by an intimate partner.
“This report’s most important contribution is its systematic examination of Alaska homicides according to victim characteristics,” said Brad Myrstol, director of the UAA Justice Center. “This provides insight into the magnitude and characteristics of homicides involving American Indian and Alaska Native female victims, as well as homicides involving victims of other race and sex groups. My hope is that this report advances our state’s conversations about violent crime and its prevention.”
The full Homicide in Alaska 1976-2016 report is available online. The report was written by Research Professional Andrew Gonzalez at the Alaska Justice Information Center (AJIC), which is a research center staffed by the UAA Justice Center. More information can be found at www.uaa.alaska.edu/ajic.