Alaska – famed for its natural unspoiled beauty and frontier-like culture. This is by far the largest state of the Union, being roughly twice the size of Texas. Around 80% of Alaska’s income economy is energy-based. Both the fishing and tourism industries are also major revenue generators.
Although oil reserves are now declining, the gas sector remains very active and average income levels per capita remain high compared to many other states – running at approximately $40,000 – as measured in 2007 surveys.
The total population of Alaska is around 750,000 based upon 2015 estimates – making it one of the least populated states in the US. Approximately 50% of the population lives in the Anchorage metropolitan area.
In spite of its low population and relatively high average individual income levels, Alaska has an unenviable reputation for high crime levels, including having the highest instances of sexual assault in the US.
The causes of this are disputed but alcohol abuse and limited law enforcement outside of the major population areas are both frequently cited, as are the potential psychological effects of the long and demanding winters. These statistics are reflected in the following:
- It’s the 49th safest state for property crime (where 1st = lowest crime)
- Alaska has almost 2.5 times the national average violent crime (ratio 2.38) with 8.24 crimes per 1,000 versus a national average of 3.47.
- It has property crime levels of 49.37 per 1,000 with the national average being 40.43 – giving a ratio of 1.22 to the national average.
Going against overall state trends, some parts of Alaska do have low crime figures that are significantly below state and national averages.
Safest Cities in Alaska, 2019
Rank City Violent Crimes Property Crimes Violent Crime Rate Property Crime Rate
1 Wasilla 54 464 5.350 45.972
2 Juneau 303 1,683 9.368 52.034
3 Anchorage 3,564 16,041 12.033 54.158
4 Fairbanks 205 1,493 6.224 45.329
To identify the safest cities in Alaska, we reviewed the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics. A total of 7,639 cities were factored into this ranking with populations ranging from 7,639 to 4,007,147. However, we eliminated any cities that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI and removed cities with populations under 10,000.
Overall, data from 8,793 law enforcement agencies that represented more 193 million of the US population helped us draw interesting insights between the size of the police force and incidence of crime.
There are two broad classifications of crimes: violent crimes and non-violent crimes. According to the FBI, “Violent crime is composed of four offenses: murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Violent crimes are defined in the UCR Program as those offenses that involve force or threat of force. Property crime includes the offenses of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. The object of the theft-type offenses is the taking of money or property, but there is no force or threat of force against the victims. ”
We computed the total number of crimes reported by each city by adding violent crimes and property crimes. We then rated them using the population of the city and created a crime rate as the number of crimes per 1,000 population. Then we transformed the total crime rate variable so that the skewness was reduced and we normalized it so the final number became a score between 0 and 1.
Next, we computed a new variable called Police Adequacy (TotalCrimes / Number of police employees). We consider that the smaller the police adequacy statistic is, the safer the city is. We transformed and normalized this police adequacy variable also, resulting in a score between 0 and 1. Finally, we combined the two scores to create a safety score for each city.