The Recent History Of Car Theft In Alaska And Why It Matters

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The high number of stolen cars in Anchorage and Fairbanks in recent years
What has been done to stop car theft in Alaska?
Advice for preventing your car from being stolen
Final word


The high number of stolen cars in Anchorage and Fairbanks in recent years

Alaska, and Anchorage in particular, has long had a much higher than normal rate of car theft. In fact, in 2017 and 2018, Anchorage placed second each year on the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s Hot Spots Vehicle Theft Report. Fairbanks placed 89 on the list.

This report determines the “hot spots” on the list by determining the rate of car theft per hundred thousand people in each specific area. So, many areas on the list, which have fewer overall car thefts, rank higher than places like New York City and Los Angeles because the percentage of cars stolen is higher, not the actual number of thefts.

Regardless, it is alarming to see the rate of vehicle theft so high in Alaska, especially in comparison to hundreds of other US cities. The numbers stipulate that one vehicle is stolen per every hundred residents in Anchorage. In fact, just last month, ten people were charged in car theft cases in unrelated incidents in Anchorage.

One possible reason for this has been Alaska’s higher than average unemployment rate. Most recently, Alaska’s unemployment rate was 6.3% while the national average was just above half of that at 3.7%. Alaska has often had the highest unemployment rate in the country, so this increases the level desperation for many people, some of which look for a score stealing a car.

Another reason for this could be the low number of police in comparison to the number of residents in Alaska. Using Anchorage as an example, they have 12.8 police officers per ten thousand people, which is one of the lowest in all major cities across the entire country. The average for these major cities was 22.2 police officers per ten thousand people. So, per capita, Anchorage has 42% less police than the average major US city.

What has been done to stop car theft in Alaska?

Just because there is not an abundance of police does not mean that there are not steps being taken to improve these car theft issues.

Alaska has been expanding its police force as well as increasing the communication and cooperation between law enforcement agencies. One such instance of this was when local police worked with the US Attorney’s Office in Anchorage to get charges brought on cases where they normally would not have been able to due to grey areas in local and state laws.

In fact, arrests made in Anchorage stemming from vehicle theft tripled from 2014 to 2018. So, the police have certainly done their job.

The police in Alaska are also actively looking to recruit and add new officers in an effort to expand the force.

Advice for preventing your car from being stolen

It is also up to you to do your part as well. Here are some ways that you can prevent your car from being stolen in Alaska:

  • Do not idle – Do not leave your car running with the keys in the ignition. These circumstances tend to result in some of the more common car theft cases in Alaska.
  • Get a trusted security system – There are several very trustworthy car security systems out there. OnStar is one such example. Their service offers features such as GPS tracking of your vehicle, notifications if it is stolen, and, in certain cases they can even slow the car down and bring it to a stop if it is being driven while stolen.
  • If you have a garage, use it – Be sure to make use of your garage for something other than storage. Keeping it out in the open always poses a greater risk of theft.
  • Keep valuables out of your car – It is usually luxury cars and new cars that are the targets of theft. However, a thief might see an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone if they see some jewelry or electronics in your car through the window.
  • Don’t make an obvious mistake – These go without saying, but never forget to lock your car and do not leave a spare set of keys in the vehicle. You would just be making it too easy on the criminals.


Final word

Unfortunately, cars being stolen more frequently than in other parts of the country is a part of life in Alaska. However, law enforcement has been particularly vigilant recently, so you can expect the situation to improve. You can even help protect your vehicle yourself by taking the few simple steps listed above.

Category: Alaska Car Shipping.