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Robberies double in city as rape reports fall

One officer undergoing crime analysis training that could reveal trends

Posted: Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Robberies nearly doubled in Juneau during 2007 while the number of reported rapes dropped by nearly one-third over the previous year. Other reported violent and property crimes remained almost static as compared to the years from 2004 to 2006.

January and December 2007 saw the highest number of forced rape reported with four and three, respectively. The numbers do not include reports on the sexual assault of children.

Assistant Police Chief Page Decker said the fact that robberies increased from nine to 17 might not mean anything significant. The overall number is so small, he said.

The drop in reported rape, from 32 in 2006 to 22 in 2007, might be moot as well. There is no way to know if fewer rapes were committed or fewer rapes were reported, he said.

In an effort to better understand annual crime numbers, one officer is undergoing crime analysis training that could reveal trends. Hopefully, the numbers will be more meaningful next year, he said.

The rate of crimes solved is more relevant from a practical standpoint, Decker said. The national average for solving robberies is 26 percent, he said. In 2007, Juneau police solved 59 percent of the robberies reported.

More than 70 percent of the rapes reported in the last three years were solved, Decker said. In most rape cases in the city, the rapist knows the victim, he said.

The national violent crime average dropped by 1.4 percent in 2007 compared to 2006, according to the FBI. Nationally, property crime dropped by 2.1 percent and arson dropped by 7 percent.

Juneau police reported to the FBI that the city's 30,000 people lost $1,252,588 in stolen property over the year, which equals $41.75 for every citizen.

Of all the stolen property, $130,155 was in cash. Police recovered $999.

Lead investigator Sgt. Dave Campbell said that cash recovery was "a fairly rare occurrence." Cash is easy to get rid of, compared to stolen items like jewelry or televisions and stereos, he said.

Last year saw 33 fewer burglaries than in 2006, when 194 homes and businesses were broken into. More than half of the burglars entered through unlocked doors and windows. Police say the solution to half the problem is an obvious one: Lock the doors and windows and don't leave tempting items in sight.

"The numbers speak for themselves," Decker said.

Aggravated assault rose slightly more than the previous year with 88 reports. Knives were used in 33 assaults, guns in nine, other deadly items in 26, and feet or hands in 17.

Assault is a people-to-people crime that is difficult to prevent, Decker said. There will be a certain number of assaults in each population and Juneau's rate is nearly static, like the population, he said.

Homicides decreased from two in 2006 to one in 2007. At the same time, aggravated assault rose slightly from 80 to 88 individual reports.

With nowhere to run, 52 cars and trucks were stolen throughout the city last year. Without a real market for stolen cars in Juneau, most are recovered, said Capt. Jerry Nankervis. There are no known chop shops and transporting stolen cars out of the city is difficult, he said.

Most cars are stolen for "joyrides," Nankervis said.

• Contact reporter Greg Skinner at 523-2258 or e-mail greg.skinner@juneauempire.com.



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