The Anchorage Daily News asked candidates for the April 2 election to the Anchorage Assembly to answer a series of questions on issues facing those bodies. We’re publishing select responses daily. The answers were fact-checked when facts were cited and edited for spelling, grammar and writing style. For more questions and to see all the candidates’ answers, click here. For School Board candidate surveys, click here.
Q: Describe your position on crime in Anchorage.
DISTRICT 2, SEAT A: CHUGIAK-EAGLE RIVER
All of us can play a role in helping stop crime. Again, it is one of the few things that muni government has a responsibility to do effectively. I very much appreciate the recent progress that APD has made in reducing car thefts. And as a resident of Eagle River I appreciate the officers who live in my community and who indirectly help patrol our streets just by driving to work and home everyday having the effect of a greater sense of their presence.
Crime in Anchorage is a serious problem. We are beginning to make progress in reducing crimes within the municipality and should take steps to support our public safety officials as well as local community patrols. Beyond enforcement, to end the cycle of crime we must address the drivers behind it. The most prevalent drivers are addiction and untreated mental illnesses.
DISTRICT 4, SEAT F: MIDTOWN
Crime gets worse when criminals know they have few consequences. There has to be clear consequences for bad behavior.
Mental health issues, drugs, understaffing in legal systems and a lack of community involvement has to be addressed.
With decreased state funding, Anchorage needs to find innovative, community-based, & affordable solutions. Everyone should feel safe in their homes. Anchorage has added a considerable number of officers to the police department and has worked to strategize its patrols to best serve neighborhoods with a consistent police presence. However, public safety is not only up to Anchorage’s police department, but neighbors must engage with one another to foster vibrant active neighborhoods.
DISTRICT 3, SEAT D: WEST ANCHORAGE
Justice for all.
Rising crime rates will be a top priority of mine on the Assembly, and concern about crime is the number one issue I’m hearing in door knocking, phone calls, and my life as a father and community member. It is clear from my ride-along with the Police Department that this is not a simple issue. Crime is interrelated with homelessness, mental health, prison reentry, poverty, and addiction, among other issues, and we need a comprehensive strategy that tackles multiple social and systematic issues.
See above responses. Should be top priority.
DISTRICT 5, SEAT H: EAST ANCHORAGE
The Assembly has focused on increasing the size of the Police Department, both sworn and unsworn staff. We’ve purchased a new police headquarters downtown, proposed a bond to create new evidence storage facilities in the old HQ, passed laws to allow for easier prosecution of stolen vehicles, and invested in a fund to clean up vacant and nuisance properties that have become criminal hotbeds. In short, we have made public safety a priority, and made actual investments to back up our rhetoric.
DISTRICT 6, SEAT J: SOUTH ANCHORAGE, GIRDWOOD, TURNAGAIN ARM
I’m opposed to crime. You should be, too.