Police Protection In The Mat-Su Valley

TrooperI am often asked about police protection in the area by new residents in the Mat-Su Valley.  They are wondering how often their neighborhood is patrolled.  Many people are used to larger cities with a large police department.

Some of the cities in area do have their own police force.  But these cities are small compared to the total size of the borough.  Look at the city limits of Palmer, Wasilla, and Houston.  Palmer and Wasilla both have a police force. Houston is the largest city in size with 24 square miles…it has one policeman.  The borough is about 24,000 square miles and it does not have a police force. 

The only police force in the rest of the borough is the Alaska State Troopers.  The “B” Detachment of the Alaska StateTroopers has a force of 48 commissioned troopers that actually cover an area much larger than the borough.  According to retired trooper Rick Roberts the detachment covers an area of more than 55,000 square miles which is more than twice the size of the borough.

The amazing thing about this is that much of the area cannot be reached by a patrol car.  SoTrooper helicopter these troopers also have to access areas by snow mobile, four wheelers, boats, and helicopters.  In addition, people expect them to come running every time a car drives a little fast down their subdivision street.

What I generally tell people who wonder about this is that you need to look out for yourself in this area.  The troopers have a good page called residential target hardening.  I would add that a locked door doesn’t necessarily keep out a determined burglar.  How hard is it to kick in a door or break a window if a thief thinks you aren’t home?  A locked door with a big dog barking inside will stop a lot more burglars.  That is the main reason I have a dog at my house. 

Don’t get one of these dogs for home defense, (I mean the pug, not the wolf),…they’re cute but really can’t fend for themselves, let alone defend your home. You want one with a deep bark. 

Some outside lighting goes a long way to keep thieves away during the many hours of winter darkness.  Getting to know your neighbors and agreeing to watch one another’s homes is likely on of the best options you can have.  Of course, you have a right to responsibly arm yourself for self-defense.  But all the guns in the world won’t keep your home from being robbed when you aren’t there.  In fact guns are a favorite target of burglars.

After all that, I have never had a problem with crime in area.  I don’t go overboard in personal protection.  There is someone home most days so we don’t have to worry much about it.