(Anchorage) – Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy today issued the following statement in regard to the 2020 Crime in Alaska report that shows a decrease in Alaska’s overall crime rate by 18.5%. The total number of reported violent crimes decreased by 3.7% and the number of property crimes decreased by 22.9%, the lowest total number of reported property offenses since 1974. The overall total number of reported offenses were at their lowest level since 1975.
“Public safety in Alaska has been the top priority for my administration since the first day I took office. I immediately began work to repeal and replace SB 91 with crime legislation that makes sense and protects Alaskans,” said Governor Mike Dunleavy. “And while the decline in crime rate numbers is a testament to the great work law enforcement and partners across the state are doing, we will not stop until sexual assaults and domestic violence are no longer a problem in our communities. I will continue with my plan to remove sexual predators and violent offenders from the streets in Alaska by immediately collecting 100% of the DNA owed in all authorized cases going forward and by collecting DNA from another 20,022 offenders who owe the State a sample of their DNA under State law through the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Corrections. My directive remains to reduce the sexual assault kit testing and processing times to 90 days and increasing funds to add more staff and resources to achieve that goal.”
According to state law, anyone who is arrested or convicted for crimes against a person or a certain felony must provide DNA. Over the last 25 years, thousands of lawfully owed DNA samples were not collected in Alaska for various reasons.
DPS has cleared the backlog of previously unsubmitted, untested sexual assault kits from Alaska State Trooper cases and is nearing completion on untested sexual assault kits from all law enforcement agencies in Alaska. The governor’s plan includes the use of software and a tracking database to allow survivors and agencies involved in sexual assault response the ability to track the status and location of sexual assault evidence kits.
Governor Mike Dunleavy’s Omnibus Crime Bill, HB 49, was passed and signed into law seven months after he took office. The legislation repealed and replaced SB 91, and enacted timeframes for submission and testing. The law now requires that law enforcement notify the victims from which a kit was collected, that testing has been completed.
Governor Dunleavy will request the legislature appropriate $1.1 million of ARPA funds for this initiative, to be used in conjunction with $900,000 in existing Department of Public Safety funding for necessary resources. He also intends to introduce legislation next session to directly address sexual assaults and violent offenses.
Click here for the Department of Public Safety’s Combined SNA Index System (CODIS) Report.
Click here for Frequently Asked Questions on the DNA Collection and Sexual Assault Kit testing directives.