With efforts to heighten security in downtown Anchorage, Anchorage Police Department started their foot patrol program at the end of last month. Officers are working in pairs patrolling the area in hopes to deter crime and also have the opportunity to talk and work with the public. The boundary of patrol will be in the area of L Street to Cordova and from Third Avenue to Sixth Avenue.
After an unstable year of crimes ranging from burglary to murder, many residents and workers downtown have questioned their safety when commuting. Just last month, a suspect was shot dead and a police officer was injured in an altercation around Fifth Ave and Cordova Street.
For people who work in the area, many of them park outside and getting to their car can be a frightening thing.
“I don’t feel very safe after I leave work. I feel as if I have to continually look behind my back to make sure no one is following me. Being a petite girl, I feel like I’m an easy target for anything,” Polly Song, a downtown Anchorage employee said.
APD has had a shortage of officers and has not had a foot patrol program for many years. They are in the process of rebuilding their department. On Dec 1, 2016, 26 new officers graduated from the academy and were sworn into duty.
“Because of the community investment in APD and our progress rebuilding the department, we now have the ability to staff a dedicated downtown foot patrol,” Chief Chris Tolley said in an APD press release. “As we rebuild APD we will fortify other specialty units, patrols and un-sworn staff to enhance public safety.”
Anchorage has experienced a spike in crime. Mayor Ethan Berkowitz has met with members of the community these last few months following numerous unsolved murders. Residents in Anchorage have been on their heels because of a very unstable year of crime.
“Downtown foot patrol is a big step forward — it connects officers with the community and the community with officers, and that means a safer Anchorage,” Berkowitz said in a press release.
The community hopes with the help of APD and their initiatives, Anchorage will have fewer incidents in the new year.