Far too many Anchorage residents know firsthand that crime is out of control in our city. Now skyrocketing crime is starting to impact our city's reputation. Anchorage has the unfortunate distinction of being ranked one of the top 20 most dangerous cities in America, according to the online news service 24/7 Wall St.
It didn't need to be this way. That's why I have filed my letter of intent to run for mayor in the 2018 Anchorage Municipal election.
I have heard from too many Anchorage residents who are victims of crime and have seen the fear and distrust that is settling in our neighborhoods. According to the FBI uniform crime statistics, from 2015 to 2016, violent crime rose 6 percent, property crime rose 24 percent and motor vehicle theft rose 76 percent. In 2017 car theft in Anchorage continues to skyrocket, the theft of property has increased and the number of homicides is again at a record pace.
The connections between crime, our economy and other social problems are numerous and complex but still lead to obvious, common sense conclusions: High crime rates discourage economic activity and development. An economy in recession places enormous stress on families and neighborhoods. Police resources are overwhelmed with calls about drug abuse, domestic violence and homelessness.
With crime after crime making headlines here, how will Anchorage fare when evaluated by anyone considering us as a destination? What impact do these stories have on families considering a move here for a new job? A company considering Anchorage for expansion or relocation?
It didn't need to be this way. As mayor, I will lead a sustained effort to strengthen public safety and restore order. The foundation of that effort will be identifying, arresting and locking up dangerous criminals. We need to make it known that there will be quick and meaningful consequences for crime in Anchorage.
We also need laws that support this approach. Driven by a desire to cut incarceration costs, Senate Bill 91 went too far and the Legislature is currently working to fix these mistakes.
But SB 91 also deprived Anchorage of the ability to impose more severe penalties for violations of municipal ordinances than authorized for comparable state offenses in SB 91. This prevents our city from imposing more restrictive sentences for misdemeanor offenses as part of the local effort to control crime. Looking the other way for minor crime emboldens criminals. Anchorage must have local control to show those committing crimes that crime doesn't pay – but criminals will.
As mayor I will work tirelessly to restore our sense of safety and security, ensure that our hard-working men and women in law enforcement have the tools they need, boldly voice our concerns in Juneau, and make it clear that criminals will be held accountable.
The citizens of Anchorage should not be forced to suffer while our leadership continues to fumble on this issue. It doesn't need to be this way. Anchorage needs a mayor who is willing to say, "Not in our city." I'm applying for that job.
Rebecca Logan is a 28-year Anchorage resident, former small-business owner, current president of the Alaska Support Industry Alliance, community volunteer and mother who has filed her letter of intent to run for Anchorage mayor in 2018. More at www.loganformayor.com.
The views expressed here are the writer's and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Send submissions shorter than 200 words to email@example.com.