New report shows felony sex offenses on the rise in Alaska

The report indicates an increase in number of incidents and victims from 2017 to 2018.

Felony level sex offenses were up nearly 20% in 2018 compared to the previous year, according to a recently published report from the Department of Public Safety.

The report, which includes information on statewide statistics as well as statistics for individual regions of Alaska, shows that felony level sex offenses happened most often at home and involved juvenile victims.

The report is the fourth of its kind published by the Department of Public Safety, which is tasked with collecting information on felony level sex offenses from state and local law enforcement agencies.

Findings from the report should not be conflated with data from the Uniform Crime Reporting database or the Alaska Victimization Survey, which are separate data collection efforts using different methodologies in aggregating incidents, offenses and victims.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough was included in statistics for Southcentral Alaska, which also included the Matanuska-Susitna Borough and the Valdez-Cordova Census area, for a total population of 175,307. Anchorage statistics were grouped separately in the report.

There were 1,762 total incidents involving felony level sex offenses reported to Alaska law enforcement agencies in 2018. This number is the highest out of the four years for which the report has been published and is a 19.5% increase from the previous year. The number of reported victims also increased by 23.5%.

At 460.6 per 100,000 people, the Western region of Alaska had the highest rate of felony level sex offenses in the state. Southeast Alaska had the lowest rate at 110.7 per 100,000. Southcentral Alaska’s rate of reported incidents was 132.9 per 100,000 people.

The report notes that not all incidents included victim demographics, and some involved multiple victims and/or multiple suspects.

The majority of victims statewide — over 55% according to the report — were juveniles. The median age of female victims was 17, while the most common age was 15. The median age for male victims was 12, and the most common age was 4. The median age for all suspects was 30, while the most common age for suspects was 15. In Southcentral Alaska, the most common victim age was 16, and the most common suspect age was 15.

Alaska Native women had the highest vicitimization rate among any gender or racial group and made up 43.7% of all reported victims. Women comprised about 88% of the victims in these reported incidents, while about 95.7% of the suspects were men.

In reports that included the relationship between the suspect and the victim, less than 7% identified the suspect as a stranger. In more than half of the reports that included victims under 11 years old, the suspect was a parent of the victim. Seventy five percent of the reported incidents took place at a home or residence.

The full report can be found at the Department of Public Safety’s website.

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