For 7th straight year, overall crime drops in Maine

The Boston Globe 3 weeks ago

That’s what Mainers experienced last year, according to statistics released by the state Department of Public Safety.

Authorities said crime in Maine “decreased -9.3% during 2018,” making it “the seventh consecutive year that crime has dropped in Maine for a total decline during the past seven years of -56.1%. Crime dropped -8.2% in 2017, -8.7% in 2016, -7.1% in 2015, -13% in 2014, -8.3% in 2013, and -1.5% in 2012,’’ officials said

Impressive numbers, but what explains the dip? The state’s public safety boss attributes the downward trend to community ties between law enforcement and residents.

“Maine has traditionally been one of the safest states in the country and members of law enforcement truly appreciate the strong partnerships we have in our communities that have led to a seventh straight year of declining crime rates,” said Public Safety Commissioner Michael Sauschuck in a statement.

Sauschuck said his agency’s “core mission remains focused on developing trust and relationships with all of our residents to include a special emphasis on the victims we serve. While we’ve seen consistent reductions in crime in recent years, I believe the workload of our first responders has actually increased as we continue to staff the front lines of various public health crises.”

According to the statement, only two crime categories, simple assaults and homicides, went up in 2018.

“There were 23 homicides during 2018, compared to 21 in 2017,” the statement said. “Of the 23 homicides, nine were domestic violence related. The violent crime categories of rape, domestic assault, robbery and aggravated assault went down in 2018.”

Crime in rural areas dropped by 13.3 percent last year, compared with an 8.2 percent dip in cities and towns, according to the statement.

“In the rural areas, patrolled by State Police, Sheriff’s offices, Fire Marshals and the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, agencies reported a -13.3% decrease in reported crimes,” the release said. “The two rural crimes that increased in 2018 were rape and simple assaults. Rapes reported in the rural areas saw a +1.8% increase (114 incidents reported in 2018 compared to 112 rape incidents in 2017). Assaults in the rural areas say a +4.9% increase (2,680 victims were assaulted in 2018 and 2,556 victims in 2017).”

Regarding urban crime, the statement said, “three crime numbers that went up in the cities and towns were simple assaults, arsons and homicide. Arson saw an increase of +62.6% (57 reported incidents in 2018 and 35 in 2017). Simple assaults increased by +4.6% (7,292 incidents in ’18 vs 6,971 assaults in 2017). There were 14 homicides in the urban areas, compared to 10 during 2017.”


Travis Andersen can be reached at tandersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.


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