Alaska is notorious for routinely having one of the nation’s highest rates of violent crimes like assault, rape, and murder. But the state is also prone to high rates of various property crimes. While moving to Alaska is more challenging than moving to other states, it’s important for people to be aware of the risk of property crime in Alaska.
Like most places, the shape of property crime in Alaska is a bit of a mixed bag, and taking a closer look at the statistics and trends as well as crime on the local level is wise.
At A Glance:
- With #1 being the best, Alaska is ranked #47 for property crime out of 50 states + Washington, D.C.
- You have a 2.91% chance of being a property crime victim in Alaska in the next 12 months.
- Alaska’s property crime rate is 38% higher than the average crime rate in the United States.
- Kenai, a coastal community southwest of Anchorage, has the state’s highest property crime rate, 57 incidents per 1,000 residents.
Only four states (D.C., Louisiana, New Mexico, and South Carolina) have higher property crime rates than Alaska, and the state’s property crime rate is more than one-third higher than the average rate in the U.S.
Alaska’s Most Current Property Crime Rates (2019)
- Rate of Property Crime
- Alaska average:: 29.11 crimes per 1,000 people
- National average: 21.1 crimes per 1,000 people
While Alaska’s most recent property crime rate is much higher than the national rate, the average rate over the past decade is more in line with the national rate. Further, while the state’s property crime rate has increased over the past decade, the slight jump could point to the possibility of Alaska making progress against crime.
Alaska’s Overall Property Crime Trends (2010 – 2019)
- Average Rate of Property Crime:
- Alaska 10-year average: 29.81 crimes per 1,000 people
- National 10-year average: 25.61 crimes per 1,000 people
- 2.61% Has property crime increased or decreased during this time?
- There was a 2.61% increase in property crime in Alaska from 2010 as compared to 2019.
- 2017 Which year had the highest rate of property crime in Alaska?:
- The highest rate of property crime in Alaska was 2017 (35.42 crimes per 1,000 people)
- 2011 Which year had the lowest rate of property crime in Alaska?:
- The lowest rate of property crime in Alaska was 2011 (26.38 crimes per 1,000 people)
What incidents fall under the umbrella of property crime? Burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft, and arson are the four major property crime categories reported by the FBI. In every case, if the incident involves violence or threats of violence, it no longer is a property crime and is classified as a violent crime.
Alaska’s Property Crime Category Trends (2010 – 2019)
- Which type of property crime occurred the most in Alaska over the past decade?
- Larceny occurred more than any other property crime at a rate of 21.87 crimes per 1,000 people.
- Average property crime rate by category
- Average burglary rate: 4.67 crimes per 1,000 people
- Average larceny rate: 21.87 crimes per 1,000 people
- Average vehicle crime rate: 3.27 crimes per 1,000 people
- Average arson rate: 0.26 crimes per 1,000 people
- Note: There were no FBI estimates for arson rates, so we used all available data that was reported by individual cities in Alaska.
- +58% Which types of property crime have increased during this time period?
- Vehicle crime has increased the most, rising about 58%.
- -5% Which types of property crime have decreased during this time period?
- Larceny had the biggest decline, though it was slight, just 5%.
It’s been well-documented that violent crime and property crime are both more common in Alaska than in most other parts of the U.S. One of the biggest reasons crime rates are so high in Alaska is that so few people live there, and crime rate statistics are population-adjusted.
Preliminary reports for 2020 indicate that things may be trending in a positive direction, however. Anchorage police reported that homicide fell dramatically in Alaska in 2020, and many types of property crime are likely on the decline as well. Larceny fell by 22 percent, according to Anchorage police data, while vehicle theft dropped by a similar rate.
Law enforcement officials say the decline is due to increased dispatcher staffing and community organizing efforts. While that’s the case in only one city, looking at the micro level is instructive, as crime is a hyper-local phenomenon.
Cordova, a town of about 2,200 on Prince William Sound, has Alaska’s lowest property crime rate, and Kenai, the seventh-biggest city in the state, has the highest rate. Most other major Alaska cities also have high property crime rates, including its largest city, Anchorage, which has the fifth-highest property crime rate.
Top 5: Best Property Crime Rates (based on 2019 data):
- Cordova, Alaska
- Wrangell, Alaska
- Haines, Alaska
- North Slope Borough, Alaska
- Skagway, Alaska
Bottom 5: Worst Property Crime Rates (based on 2019 data):
- Kenai, Alaska
- Wasilla, Alaska
- Ketchikan, Alaska
- Fairbanks, Alaska
- Anchorage, Alaska