Alaska Crime Analysis

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Alaska faces a number of substantial and heavily researched crime issues throughout the state. Domestic violence, sexual assault, and suicide rates are all at epidemic rates, particularly in rural areas of the state. While these issues are also prevalent in the more populated, urban areas of the state, they do not garner the level of public outcry that another area of criminal behavior currently experiences; residential burglaries and larceny coupled with the exploding heroin epidemic. This crime issue is particularly prevalent in the Mat-Su Valley region of southcentral Alaska. Southcentral Alaska is the most populous region of the state. Anchorage, with a population of approximately 300,000 people, contains nearly one-half of the residents…show more content…
Additionally, researchers have demonstrated that criminal activities in the form of those associated with income-generation, contribute to a large portion of the social costs related to drug use (Manzoni et al., 2006). While costs such as treatment and criminal justice system expenditures are significant (Healey et al., 1998), the greatest volume of costs related to criminal offenses by drug users is associated with property crimes (Manzoni et al., 2006; Best et al., 2001; Maher et al., 2002). While the links between illicit drug use; in particular heroin use, and property crime are clear, what remains unverified is the causality. Namely, does heroin addiction predicate an increase in a user’s likelihood to become involved in committing property crimes? Conversely, other scholars have posited that involvement in property crime generates additional disposable income that a person already deeply involved in the criminal world and more likely to be exposed to drug users may use for experimentation and eventual dependence (Allen,…show more content…
Numerous Facebook pages have been created by citizens wishing to highlight the growing trend of property crime in the area. One particular page, titled; “Stop Valley Thieves” gained notoriety very quickly after members of the group assisted law enforcement in the speedy recovery of several stolen items. The membership quickly exploded from a few hundred to over 5,000 citizens in a few short weeks. The page was, interestingly enough, initially created by the wife of an Alaska State Trooper as a way for citizens to connect and share information about crime trends in their neighborhood. Several other similar groups, message boards and Facebook pages are now in existence for the Mat-Su Valley and the trend has spread to other regions of the state as well. Often, information concerning a stolen vehicle, a found vehicle, a suspicious person, or video of burglars in action is posted to these online forums within hours of the crime

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