Elise Patkotak: Alaska must acknowledge high rate of violence

A 2012 rally in Alaska to end high rates of domestic violence. Photo from Choose Respect

Elise Patkotak calls on Alaskans to recognize the state's high rate of violent crime:
I was more than a little surprised at the reaction to last week’s column citing the survey showing Alaska to be the most violent state in the union. The most amazing reaction came from the person who claimed it was a liberal survey meant to pave the way for taking our guns. Considering guns were not even mentioned in the piece, I’m not sure where that came from. Also, the survey was done by the FBI, not a group known for being a bastion of liberal thought.

Then there were the people who claimed that no survey probably ever existed since I didn’t quote extensively from it. They apparently are unable to find the referenced survey, so let me do it for them. According to the statistics published by the FBI, Alaska has a rate of 602.6 incidents of violent crime per 100,000 people. Some readers claimed we’re No. 1 only because we have such a small population. They apparently feel that the number looms much larger than it would in a bigger population. But given it was based on a “per 100,000” basis, the statistic holds up. Chicago may have more murders but with their higher population, it works out to a lower number per 100,000. And if you can’t understand that math or those statistics, you should go back to your high school and demand a refund on your diploma.

Perhaps most disturbing were the people who simply denied that Alaska was a violent place because they felt safe here. I’m sure they do. So do I for the most part. And this is probably why another survey found us No. 1 in residents feeling fulfilled and good about themselves. One does not preclude the other. But we need to remember that these statistics on violence were not conjured out of thin air. They are based on crime statistics and are real. These crimes are happening to other Alaskans if not to you. And that should concern us because diminishing the quality of life for even one Alaskan diminishes it for us all. We can either do something about it before it reaches our homes or suffer the consequences.

Get the Story:
Elise Patkotak: We can't deal with Alaska's violence until we recognize it (The Alaska Dispatch News 2/24)

Join the Conversation