More property crime and the potential for hundreds of new residents in the coming years has the unincorporated area of Nikiski looking for more law enforcement. The area is underserved by the Alaska State Troopers and community members want action.
One of the things that makes Nikiski so attractive to the people who live there is the same thing that makes it attractive for petty criminals: quiet, secluded neighborhoods, no cops and the space to be more or less left alone to do as you please. But that’s not really working for everyone anymore. It really hasn’t been working for a while.
“So it seems to be the same conversation we had back in 2004. And here we are again.”
That’s Ann Krogseng. She runs a construction business with her husband. She says the property crime has gotten so bad that when some gas was siphoned from one of their tanks recently, they didn’t even bother calling it in. And she doesn’t think the multi-billion dollar Alaska LNG Project coming to town will help.
“And we are on the cusp of having a dramatic economic change in our community. And we can either be prepared if it does come or not be prepared. We’ll either be proactive or we’ll be reactive.”
Krogseng was one of more than 100 residents who came to a recent meeting to find out more about a proposed law enforcement service area. Since Nikiski isn’t a city, the services it gets through the Kenai Peninsula Borough like fire response and recreation, are all approved on local ballots and paid for through local taxes. Having that local control is a big selling point, as people aren’t real satisfied with Alaska State Troopers ability to respond to calls from their post in Soldotna, 30 minutes away. But a dedicated police force isn’t the answer for everyone. Local militia members, like Ray Southwell, think they should be able to take care of themselves.
“I’m in the process of developing the Deacons for Defense and have called upon militia members in our community to join our efforts to expose the drug dealers and disrupt their money-making schemes that destroys communities.”
Most residents do point to drug use as the main culprit behind all the property theft. It’s those layers of related crimes that make people think a permanent police presence is the best answer. But it will be up the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly to decide if the question of creating a new law enforcement service area will go on the ballot this fall. If it does, the final decision will be up to the residents of Nikiski.