The number of property crimes in Anchorage spiked in the first half of 2013, while violent crime slightly declined overall, according to preliminary statistics released by the FBI on Tuesday.
The FBI's semi-annual crime report, which compiles national statistics, uses data provided by the Anchorage Police Department. The latest report compares the numbers of reported crimes from the first six months of 2013 to the first six months of 2012.
For that time frame in Anchorage, reports of violent crimes -- categorized as murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault -- declined by 1.4 percent overall, the statistics show. A rise in the numbers of reported rape, to 199 in 2013 from 145 in 2012, was attributed in part by officials to the adoption of a broader definition of the crime by the FBI last year.
The statistics show property crimes were up 14.4 percent during the first half of 2013 over the same period in 2012. That includes burglaries, larcenies/thefts and motor vehicle thefts. The FBI recorded a double-digit percentage increase in property theft between 2011 and 2012, according to data from previous years.
The number of reported arsons declined, from 47 in 2012 to 33 in 2013.
Anchorage police chief Mark Mew said he was unaware that the FBI statistics were released on a six-month basis, but said he wouldn't read too much into the numbers.
"Whatever these numbers say, they could be telling us a completely different story by the end of the year," Mew said.
He said he first saw the figures Tuesday afternoon, and would not be able to provide explanations of disparities without additional research.
Reach Devin Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4314.