ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Sept. 3 (UPI) — Police in Alaska warned residents to remain “extra vigilant” when going out at night following a recent wave of homicides.
The warning issued buy the Anchorage Police Department cited a series of 15 murders that began June 27 and urged citizens to be wary while out in isolated areas at night and to report instances of domestic violence.
“The Anchorage Police Department is alerting citizens to be extra aware of their surroundings and to report any suspicious person(s) or activity immediately to police,” authorities said.
According to the warning, six of the victims were engaged in high-risk behaviors such as drugs, guns and criminal activity, four were associated with domestic violence and five were in isolated areas during late-night or early-morning hours.
Several of the homicide incidents also involved individuals under the age of 21.
“Unfortunately, people are making the choice to use violence to solve their problems instead of words, that’s really what we’re seeing,” APD spokesperson Renee Oistad told KTVA.
Police haven’t charged a suspect in 12 of the 25 total murders committed in Alaska in 2016, but Oistad said they were not seriously considering the possibility of a serial offender.
“Right now we don’t have anything to connect the unsolved crimes,” he said. “We’re going to look of course at which crimes were committed by which people, if they’re related, if they’re not. Obviously those are all things we’re going to look into.”