The Anchorage Daily News asked candidates for mayor and the Anchorage School Board in the April 3 election to answer a series of questions on issues facing the city and the Anchorage School District. We're publishing their responses daily. The answers were fact-checked when facts were cited and edited for spelling, grammar and clarity.
In this part, the candidates for mayor say how they plan to address property crime in Anchorage.
Occupation: Mayor of Anchorage
APD is the best lever the MOA has to combat crime. In 2015, APD had the dangerously low count of 320 officers–we now have 436. APD brought back units targeting drugs, robbery, sexual assault, and violent crime. The Investigative Support Unit (ISU), in the first 60 days, targeted the worst offenders and made over 60 arrests. In new retail theft stings, APD made more than 20 arrests. Property crime detectives worked with the feds to charge 13 people with vehicle theft crimes to combat the increase in stolen vehicles. As more officers complete their training, we'll implement even more preventative actions. These strategies have demonstrated efficacy and will show more impact as they mature.
Occupation: CEO for the Alaska Support Industry Alliance
There must be a zero-tolerance policy. Property crime can be reduced when police officers have the time to perform community policing (public engagement). The 2016 Police Executive Forum report recommends that 40 percent of an officer's unobligated time be spent in this manner. I would work with APD to identify what barriers were preventing them from achieving this and work to remove those barriers. State law must also be changed to allow the courts the discretion to impose stricter penalties. I plan to work with the Anchorage delegation to advocate for the necessary changes. I look forward to assisting communities who are actively developing plans to protect themselves.
Occupation: Union carpenter, handyman and maintenance worker for the municipality of Anchorage
Good defense is your best offense. Be your own first responder. Groups like the A team and APD are doing a great job, but even if we had Chuck Norris, Jackie Chan and Mr. T catching criminals they would simply be set free to continue in the same thing. Make laws that lock up criminals or you could call in every Navy SEAL team member in the world but it would not make a hill of beans difference with our weak laws we have now a.k.a. vote in new lawmakers in the next state election or petition for regress. Or Anchorage could secede from state laws in regards to crime. We have systems in place to fix broken government no need to panic just work the system our founders set up and pray that HB-250 passes.
Occupation: Roofing contractor and transportation worker
We as citizens want and need regular Anchorage Police Department patrols in all our neighborhoods to reduce and prevent these types of lesser crimes. In my 2015 Mayoral Safety Initiative, I called for neighborhood patrols and beat cops in the downtown area. Only part of the solution has been enacted being the beat cops downtown, which has been very effective. Furthermore, proactive neighborhood patrols and citywide traffic enforcement by the Anchorage Police Department is a key element in reducing all crimes. In conclusion, the only true successes against crime are measured by the communities level of involvement against crime through community policing efforts and strategies.–
Occupation: Retired/disabled floral delivery worker
I will bring an ordinance before the Assembly for approval that would issue fines on all nonviolent crimes containing language for asset forfeiture to collect fines. I will also propose a capital project to build a medium security work facility for nonviolent offenders.
Job: Transportation consultant
I think the first thing you need to do is increase the effectiveness of the judicial system in punishing these people when they're caught. I don't think catch-and-release is the proper way to handle crime in any way. I think it needs to be more pervasive against the criminal.
[Read more candidate questionnaires.]