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Ash Jurberg

Anchorage Has The Most Dangerous Metro Area in America

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Ash Jurberg
Ash Jurberg
 2021-05-17

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PolicePhoto by Alec Favale on Unsplash

When you think of cities with high crime rates, many people will mention Detroit, Memphis, or Baltimore. However, based on 2020 crime statistics, Anchorage in Alaska has the most dangerous metro area in the United States.

Let's look at the statistics that make Anchorage so dangerous.

The shocking statistics

In 2020 Anchorage had 12.6 violent crimes per 1000 people. This compares to the national average of 3.7 violent crimes per 1000 people.

Looking at another metric- property crimes and the picture is just as bad. Anchorage has a massive 50.2 property crimes per 1000 people, well in excess of the United States average, which is 22.

Often crime is associated with poverty and unemployment, but in this regard, Anchorage bucks the trend. Anchorage has 9.6% living below the poverty line, which is actually less than the national average of 13.1%. The median income is $81,037 per year, which is well above the national median income of $61,937.

Almost all of the cities ranked in the Top 10 most dangerous metro areas have median incomes half that of Anchorage residents.

Strangely for a city with such a high crime rate, only 34% of Alaskans worry about their safety on a daily basis, and 52% say they feel safe in the northernmost state.

A staggering 59% of women in Alaska have experienced some form of violence.

Can the new Acting Police Chief make a difference?

Last month, the Anchorage Police Department’s made history by appointing Acting Chief Kenneth McCoy as Anchorage’s first Black police chief. McCoy was previously deputy chief has been with the department for 27 years. Upon his appointment, he said building trust in the community, particularly with communities of color, was his number one priority.

As long as there are members of the community who don’t feel safe, or are mistrustful or fear the police in this department, we have work to do." Anchorage Acting Police Chief Kenneth McCoy

McCoy would like to recruit more police officers of color. Although more than one-third of Anchorage residents are non-white, less than one-fifth of Anchorage’s sworn officers are non-white. Recruiting people into law enforcement is particularly difficult at present, and McCoy acknowledges that recruiting people of color, who may not trust the profession, is an additional challenge.

McCoy is also keen to promote the Anchorage Police Department Citizen Academy- a program designed to promote and enhance citizen understanding and awareness of the APD's role within the community. The course is designed to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community and give them a great general knowledge of the many functions of the Anchorage Police Department.

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Kenneth McCoy TweetScreen shot of Twitter post
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The safest cities in Alaska

On the flip side to Anchorage, several cities in Alaska report very low levels of crime. Below are the five safest cities in Alaska based on crime rates.

1. Unalaska
2. Sitka
3. Homer
4. Palmer
5. Soldotna

Let's hope that Kenneth McCoy can have an impact on crime in Anchorage and make it a far safer city, and it can shed the unwanted title of the most dangerous metro area in the United States.

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