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Crime Hits Locals

Written by Heather Penn

We at Free The People AK have been following and reporting on the rise in crime in our community. I asked some of our community members on a local Facebook site called “Stolen in Fairbanks,” just how this theft increase has impacted them. These are some of their responses.

David Charron The scum are brazen enough to steal full 5 gallon fuel jugs out of my yard then return them to be refilled! How thoughtful!!!

Angie Rogers Mitchell The lack of police officers is a huge problem. They don’t have enough to cover emergency calls much less other types of calls. Community needs to come together and start watching out for each other.

Jim Evans Well a few years back when a contractor we hired came back and stole over $25,000 worth of stuff from my house nothing was done. Even found one of the quads hidden in the brush right behind his house and yet they said there wasn’t enough evidence for a search warrant to search his house and job trailers.

Racheal Hayton I had the same bike stolen 3 times in a row and after the third time I never got it back. A year later someone tried to steal my vehicle. My Samsung Galaxy S5 was stolen more recently along with my dad’s phone and sister’s tablet. I’m a struggling single Mom trying to finish college. Needless to say material things can be replaced. It’s just frustrating when people get away with so much crime.

Delany Brown Smith Citizens all across the state should DEMAND the REPEAL of SB-91! RIGHT NOW!! Crime has EXPLODED in ALL of our metro areas in the past year & SB-91 is the reason!!! GRRRR!!!!

Preston Garren My house got robbed and we know who. The problem is that the state government, the DA, and judges are too soft on these people. The girl that was involved was arrested for forging stolen checks was given 2 months in jail and then released on probation. She wrote thousands of dollars worth of forged checks out of accounts. Of course I closed the accounts the day I was robbed but business still took these checks. Another one of the guys that was involved was just sentenced to 6 years in prison for shooting, beating, and robbing another person. He had 7 felony charges and plead them down to 1 charge of 1st degree assault and was sentenced to 6 years, 1 year suspended, and time served. He’ll do only 4 years in prison for shooting and robbing somebody. That’s the problem right there. The State of Alaska has and is failing to do their jobs of protecting the citizens of this state.
This explosion in crime and drug addiction is the sole failure of Alaska State politicians and our judicial system.

Jeanne Laurencelle I would like the story to include the fact that the da did not prosecute a man we caught red handed, with photos of stolen items in his truck, and a good licence plate photo

Ginger M Reed My neighbor passed away and 4 trucks have been stolen off the property. The house has been broken into and they are stealing stuff from the storage buildings. Needles all over the place. He died alone, and how the funeral home took him out of the house was horrible. They dragged him out and when he got caught on the fence, they kicked him free.

Preston Garren I know they say it’s a funding problem. Ok. Fine. I want to see the entire budget expenditures line for line and see what money is being spent on. The government has only a few true responsibilities that they are to take care of. Education and public safety are two of them. It seems to me that those two are taking the biggest cuts. I’ve also noticed that our elected officials haven’t cut much of any thing from their budgets. For example, they have a cantina in the house that loses $20,000 a month. If it can’t turn a profit, shut it down. Especially when we can’t afford to keep the citizens safe. Also their perdium so far this year is $400,000. I say times are tough, pack a sandwich. I think if the entire budget was printed out for everyone to see, we would be shocked at the waste.

Racheal Hayton I broke a record today. I owned a bicycle for the shortest amount of time in my life. I won a bike yesterday and it got stolen today! Such a nice town!!

Justin Powell I’ve been a witness and subpoenaed three separate times in front of a grand jury regarding felony theft. All three were open and shut cases. All three times the DA dropped the cases. Ask any cop and they will tell you that the court system is broken.

Scusemeplease Moveova Yep the DA. failed to prosecute when I had CLEAR images on my security camera system of the person stealing and damaging property

 

With theft reaching epidemic proportions what is to be done? I went to the Ester Neighborhood Watch meeting last week and this is what was said.

The meeting kicked off with the preliminaries of starting a Neighborhood Watch program. Ester, much like Fairbanks and North Pole has seen a rapid increase in property theft in their neighborhoods. Many in attendance were victims of theft and wished to see this Neighborhood Watch program enacted.  An emphasis was placed on establishing a phone chain of likeminded citizens who will watch out for each other and activate the chain when suspicious people are around.

Half-way through the meeting 14-year veteran Alaska State Trooper officer Malik Jones arrived to aid the community in proper tactics to protect oneself from thievery. Jones apologized for being late as he was arresting a known burglar just prior to his visit. Trooper Jones understands the frustration of having one’s property or goods stolen. He himself has been a victim of theft as his storage unit was broken into the week prior. It used to be that the troopers would get a call about a new neighborhood watch program starting up every six months or so now, “he gets a call weekly about helping a new group starting up.” Trooper Jones agrees that the perpetrators are getting more brazen about their thievery. “Theft is happening during the day more often,” said Jones. Jones discussed a common ploy thieves have been using to “case” a neighborhood.  They walk up a driveway with an empty fuel can, giving the idea that they have run out of fuel somewhere. In reality they are looking to see if anyone is home and what if any potential items are on the property to steal. Thieves also work in numbers having one person drop off many people at multiple locations then when the thieves gather what goods they can, they alert the driver who then retrieves the thieves and stolen wares. “These burglars are very active”, said Trooper Jones.

A method to protect oneself is awareness. “Keep an eye out for each other, get the make and model of the vehicle they are driving, don’t rely on just the license plate as it may be stolen,” said Jones. Though expensive a home security system is a good also a good investment.

Jones cites heroin as the main driving force behind the ongoing crime spree. “It used to be meth but that can be made anywhere, “with heroin it has to be bought,” hence the need to steal and sell the stolen goods.

When talking about theft many cite police as the problem but Trooper Jones assures they are doing their job. He references a time (that has happened far too often) where they found the criminals, arrested them and sent them to jail. The criminal was “then almost immediately released.” Trooper Jones urges citizens to “speak up!” The fault lies in our judicial system. “We have no control what happens after arrest,” said Jones, “Speak to your legislators.”

Mumblings from those in attendance agreed the Troopers are doing their jobs and they aren’t the bad guys. A general consensus of judicial breakdown leaves citizens unprotected and with few choices for recourse. Some believe it is only a matter of time before someone gets hurt. Trooper Jones informs those in attendance that high dollar items are “hot commodities.” Items such as generators and chainsaws “move very fast,” said Jones. He recommends getting serial numbers on all your items or finding a hidden corner or panel to carve your mark. This way when items are found a keyword search may bring that item back to the owner. Trooper Jones also recommends familiarizing oneself with senate bill SB-91. This way people understand “why I have to write this person a citation versus arresting someone, my hands are tied.”  It seems people are taking matters into their own hands as Trooper Jones noted he received a call that a burglar had been caught by the homeowners and they had him tied up with “extension cords.”

“You are within your rights to protect your property but know that any shooting will be classified as a homicide,” said Jones. Whether a cop shoots someone or a citizen shoots someone it needs to be deemed justified. “Each person has a different level of fear,” said Jones.

The meeting closed with Trooper Jones offering advice on the best tactics to start a successful Neighborhood Watch program.

We at Free The People AK have the utmost respect for our men and women in blue. And wish to thank the Alaska State Troopers for their tireless work at attempting to diminish the current crime wave hitting our communities. A special thank you is offered to Trooper Malik Jones who aids community members in establishing Neighborhood Watch programs and helps keep citizens informed.

 

 

 

 

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Heather Penn

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