There is something eerie going on in the state of Alaska.
In the state’s largest city, the city of Anchorage, the homicide rate has hit a longtime record high. For the first time in over twenty years, twenty-five people have been murdered in the city — fifteen of those happening after the summer month of June. More than half of these cases are unsolved.
The above map has a pin for the location of each and every murder in Anchorage this year. The blue markers are the ones where arrests have been made, while the red markers are the cold cases. The sheer number of unsolved homicides has people shaken.
“Everyone is concerned,” said Samuel Moore, president of the North Star Community Council. “A lot of the community wants to organize a community watch with armed citizens. I’m worried about that. There is not a lot of good information coming out of the mayor’s office or the police department.” (Source: KTUU)
Not ignoring the issue, the cities’ police department recently issued a statement urging residents to proceed with the utmost caution.
“APD wants to remind our citizens to be cautious when they are out during these hours, especially if they are in isolated areas like our parks, bike trails or unoccupied streets. If you plan to be out late at night, make sure you travel with several friends and not alone.”
While there is a very high murder rate, the homicides don’t necessarily have a ton in common. All the murders occurred outdoors, in isolated places, in the early hours of the morning / overnight.
John McCleary, a volunteer with the city’s Trail Watch program has gone on the record to say that he has, “Never seen a situation with so many unsolved killings despite having been connected with city trails since the late 1970s.”
One of the most poignant murders in the community has been the so-called Valley Moon killings. Valley Moon is a often-traveled Anchorage public park and trail where two people were found dead around 2:00am in late August.
Police have been scant with additional details on the case, with no known suspects at this time. Locals were shocked by the double murder in their backyard.
“Here? Right here? From what I read in the news, things seem like they’re really getting bad in Anchorage these days,” a resident told local news.
The FBI is said to be assisting the Anchorage Police Department in investigating these slayings. Despite this, District Attorney Clint Campion reassures people that there is little to worry about: “I also don’t think there is reason for alarm. I really don’t. I think this is generally a safe place to live and if people take just moderate steps to be safe they can preserve their safety.”
More news as it comes.