Matanuska-Susitna Borough

96.2% Surveyed in Mat-Su See Crime as Serious

Mat-Su | Patty Sullivan | Friday, October 26, 2018

More than two-thirds of Mat-Su Borough residents who were surveyed think crime in the Mat-Su is very serious. Some 96.2 percent consider crime very serious or somewhat serious, according to results from a scientific survey of 602 Mat-Su residents by Hellenthal & Associates. 

The Matanuska-Susitna Borough contracted with Hellenthal & Associates of Anchorage for work completed between Aug. 30 and Sept. 8. Borough Manager John Moosey released the results in October after the Borough election on Oct. 2 to prevent influencing the election. “The purpose of this and the three citizen group meetings was to understand the needs of residents,” Moosey said.

Researcher Marc Hellenthel said he was glad to see his research results confirmed by the Oct. 2 election results. Official results for ballot proposition B-1 that asked voters if they want to pursue investigating police options were Yes 7,793, No 5,247.  

In Hellenthal’s survey 52.7 percent said they believe the Mat-Su Borough should look into acquiring police powers in order to help local and state police service currently being provided. 31.5 percent said no. 15.8 percent said they don’t know. 

On the 96.2 percent of surveyed residents who think crime is serious or somewhat serious, Hellenthal described the results as “Overwhelming. That parallels Kenai, Fairbanks and Anchorage too. Crime has been an increasingly noticed problem by citizens throughout the state especially in urban areas. Mat-Su with more than 100,000 people isn’t the rural Mat-Su of old. Crime is certainly a problem,” Hellenthal said.

When the surveyed group was asked have you been a victim of crime? 41.4 percent said yes. 58.6 percent said no. 

When asked, do you know a victim of a crime? 76.6 percent said yes, 23.4 percent said no.

Hellenthal said one has to be careful with this question as the survey did not define crime. Had we said serious crime such as murder, armed robbery, the numbers would have been smaller,” he said. 

This question deviated some from the perception on crime. When asked How satisfied are you with police protection in your neighborhood? 22.3 percent said very satisfied. 42.6 percent said somewhat satisfied. 17.9 percent said somewhat dissatisfied.

When asked how to pay for police service? Most said through a sales tax, some 53 percent. Some 26.9 percent also said neither when that was not read to them. 

“Neither” is not totally surprising,” Hellenthal said. “A lot of people are not interested in paying more money, period when it comes to government. services. And that’s true wherever you are in the state,” he said.

On the question of Senate Bill 91, 57.7 percent said they favor repealing it, 32.4 percent said they didn’t know.

“Whether I poll in Fairbanks, Kenai, Anchorage or Mat-Su, I don’t have to explain what it is, it’s assumed its own life. “They believe that SB 91 made our criminal laws way too lax. Catch and release is an adequate summary of peoples’ belief of what it is.  

Hellenthal said one interesting demographic today is what kind of phone a resident uses. Some 45.2 percent of the 602 were reached on their cell phone.  

Of those surveyed, 50 percent are in Wasilla, 29 percent are in Palmer. 

“At a 95 percent confidence level, the empirical proportions reported in the general population survey can be projected, within plus or minus 3.97 percent, to the entire Matanuska-Susitna Borough registered voter population, aged 18 and over,” Hellenthal wrote.

The Borough paid $6,000 for the survey.

The results of the three citizen working group meetings led by Deputy Borough Manager George Hays are also attached here. The top three problems as seen by the 100 who participated from Willow, Palmer, and Wasilla are: 1) drugs, 2) theft 3) recidivism. The top three recommendations are 1) Repeal Senate Bill 91 2) More Troopers 3) More services for troubled people.

For more information contact Borough Manager John Moosey at 861-8557 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Public Affairs Director Patty Sullivan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (907)861-8557.