Anchorage homicide rate highest in 11 years

Posted: Monday, January 07, 2008

ANCHORAGE - Last year's homicide rate shows it was the deadliest year for Anchorage in more than a decade and the third bloodiest the city has seen in more than a quarter-century, according to police statistics.

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There were 25 homicides in 2007. Most involved risky behaviors like drinking, drugs or disputes over money or women, said Lt. Dave Koch, who heads the Anchorage police homicide unit.

Several seem to have been random acts of violence, he said.

"The unusual trend I see is totally innocent strangers, and the average citizen, were more in danger," Koch said. "This year, we've got some true stranger killings, which are truly uncommon in Anchorage."

The usual weapon of choice was a gun, but the instruments of death also included knives, bare fists, a baseball bat and a frying pan.

Koch, a 28-year Anchorage Police Department veteran, said the higher number this year is a "statistical fluke." He described it as in line with the normal ebb and flow of killings the city has seen through the years.

While six of last year's 25 homicides remain open investigations, forensics testing and reviews by the district attorney's office are pending on four cases in which suspects or "persons of interest" have been identified, Koch said.

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