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Crime in Maine has decreased according to the Department of Public Safety

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Published: Oct. 23, 2019 at 9:44 AM EDT
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Crime in Maine decreased -9.3% during 2018, according to the Maine Department of Public Safety. It is 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.

“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. “Our 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. My thanks go out to all our public safety professionals and partners for the work they do on our behalf,” Sauschuck said.

Only two crime categories had increases in 2018, simple assaults and homicides. Adult arrests also increased, but every other crime number went down.

Simple assaults reported an increase of +4.7% in 2018 (9,972 assaults were reported compared to 9,527 in 2017).

There were 23 homicides during 2018, compared to 21 in 2017. 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.

Rape incidents virtually were unchanged, with one less rape reported in 2018 compared to 2017, a drop of -0.2%. There were 447 rapes reported in 2018 and 448 rapes in 2017. Rape numbers increased in the three prior years. The Director of the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Elizabeth Ward Saxl said, “The number of rapes represent significant trauma our fellow Mainers have endured. And yet, according the Muskie School’s Maine Crime Victimization Survey, we know that an estimated 14,000 Mainers will experience this crime each year, indicating that the vast majority of survivors are not reporting to law enforcement. We must continue to work to create systems that effectively respond to all victims who come forward before we can expect reports to law enforcement to truly reflect what’s happening in our communities.”

Domestic violence assaults decreased -11.5% in 2018 (3,699 incidents reported in 2018 compared to 4,178 incidents in 2017). This was the sixth year in a row that domestic assault decreased. The Executive Director of the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence, Francine Garland Stark said, “Domestic violence resource centers in Maine have not experienced any reduction in demand for service, and over 14,000 people reached out for help in 2018. The number of domestic violence assaults gives an incomplete picture because most victims do not reach out to the criminal justice system for intervention. Many times, the coercive, controlling behavior that characterizes domestic abuse does not involve behavior that meets the definition of a crime, though the result can be devastating and have life-long impact.”

The Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence phone number is 866-834-HELP(4357) or www.mcedv.org and the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault's phone number is 800-871-7741 or www.mecasa.org . Both organizations have complete listings of local groups that offer help with domestic violence and sexual assault.

Robberies decreased -8.1% (247 robberies reported in 2018 compared to 266 robberies in 2017). This is the third year in a row that robberies have decreased.

Aggravated Assaults reported a decrease of -8.5% for 2018 (801 incidents reported in 2018 compared to 875 incidents in 2017). Aggravated assault involves serious injury and usually involve a weapon.

The four property crime categories also went down in 2018 --

Burglary decreased -18.4% in 2018 (2,707 incidents reported compared to 3,316 incidents reported in 2017). Burglaries have decreased for seven consecutive years.

Larceny-theft decreased -8% (14,688 incidents reported in 2018 compared to 15,968 incidents in 2017). Larceny-thefts also have decreased seven years in a row.

Motor Vehicle Thefts decreased -2% in 2018 with 776 vehicles stolen compared with 792 in 2017.

Arson saw a -23.5% decrease in 2018. (104 reported arsons in 2018 compared to 136 reported in 2017). Estimated property loss caused by arson during 2018 was just over $2.1 million.

Crime in the rural areas in 2018 decreased -13.3%, and crimes in cities and towns dropped -8.2%.

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 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).

Urban crimes, from communities with local police departments, saw a

decrease of -8.2% in 2018. The 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.

The Uniform Crime Reporting Division (UCR) at the Maine Department of Public Safety tabulates the crime numbers each year. The numbers are based on reported crimes from local, county and state law enforcement agencies. The UCR statistics show that 19,773 crime index offenses were reported to police agencies during 2018 compared to 21,803 during 2017 for an overall crime rate decrease of -9.3%.

The 19,773 crimes reported in 2018 represent a crime rate of 14 offenses per 1,000 people in Maine. That number compares to the national crime rate of 28 offenses per 1,000 population.

The total number of adults summoned or cited by police increased for 2018 for the first time in a decade, while juvenile arrests decreased for the sixth straight year.

Adult arrests increased +1.3% in 2018, (37,809 arrests reported in 2018 compared to 37,337 arrests for 2017). Juveniles arrested or summoned decreased by -6.6% in 2018 (2,852 arrests reported in 2018 compared to 3,055 juveniles arrested in 2017).

The value of property stolen during 2018 was reported as $17,487,762 compared to $17,384,220 reported in 2017. Police recovered $4,689,269 in stolen property in 2018 for a recovery rate of 26.8%.

The crime rate for violent crime in Maine continues to be one offense per 1,000 population compared to the national average of 4 per 1,000 population.

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