Crime in Maine decreases

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Crime in Maine decreased -7.1% during 2015, according to the Maine Department of Public Safety. It the fourth consecutive year that crime has decreased in the state for a total decline during the past four years of -29.9%.   Crime dropped -13% in 2014, -8.3% in 2013 and -1.5% in 2012.

“Although the four straight years of declining crime numbers are encouraging, four of the five categories that saw increases last year were crimes against people – rape, robbery, aggravated assaults and homicide,” said Public Safety Commissioner John Morris. The Commissioner added, “The growing drug abuse problem still affects all Maine law enforcement. As hopeful as the overall crime numbers are, drugs are still the driving force for most of Maine crime,” Morris said.

The Commissioner said drug arrests went up in 2015 to 5,943 adult and juvenile arrests, from 5,801 arrests in 2014. There were 5,599 drug arrests for 2013. He said the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency continues to see significant abuse of prescription drugs and heroin, as well as an increase in out of state drug dealers.

In addition to increases in rape, robbery, aggravated assault and homicides, motor vehicle theft also increased in 2015.

Rape incidents reported increased +4.8% for 2015.  There were 373 rape cases reported to law enforcement in 2015, seventeen more that were reported to law enforcement for 2014.

Aggravated assaults, which involve serious injury and usually a weapon, increased +1.8% for 2015. There were 916 aggravated assaults in 2015 vs. 900 incidents in 2014.

Robberies increased +2.3% for 2015 (311 robberies in 2015 vs. 304 robberies reported in 2014).

There were 25 homicides investigated in 2015, three more than in 2014.

Motor vehicle thefts reported an increase of +1.9% for 2015 (810 stolen vehicles vs. 796 stolen vehicles in 2014).

The following crime categories decreased in 2015 –

Simple assaults decreased -3.2% in 2015 (9,722 incidents in 2015 vs 10,044 incidents in 2014).

Burglary decreased -6.7% in 2015 (4,675 incidents reported in 2015 vs. 5,009 in 2014).

Larceny-theft  decreased -8.3% for 2015 (18,801 reported in 2015 vs. 20,501 incidents in 2014).

Arson decreased -8.1% during 2015, (91 incidents for 2015 vs. 99 incidents in 2014). The value of property damaged by arson fires increased +30% for 2015 ($1,568,006 arson damage reported for 2015 vs. $1,096,455 damage reported in 2014).

Domestic violence assaults also showed a decrease of -3.2% in 2015 (4,907 incidents reported in 2015 vs. 5,067 incidents in 2014).

The Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence phone number is 866-834-HELP 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 assistance.

Crime in the rural areas showed an overall decrease of -3.4% and  crimes reported from cities and towns dropped -7.6%.

In the rural areas, patrolled by State Police and sheriff’s departments, crimes went down in every category except aggravated assaults, car thefts and homicides.  Aggravated assaults in the rural areas increased +32.8% (267 incidents reported in 2015 vs. 201 reported in 2014).  Motor vehicle thefts increased +5.6% in 2015 (266 vehicles reported stolen in 2015 vs. 252 reported stolen in 2014).

Urban crime are from communities with police departments, where the overall drop was -7.6%. Only rape and robbery increased. Rapes reported in 2015 showed an increase of +7.9%, with 22 additional incidents being reported (302 reported in 2015 vs. 280 reported in 2014).  Robberies also reported an increase of +7.5% with 20 more incidents reported in 2015 (285 robberies reported in 2015 vs. 265 reported in 2014).

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 26,000 crime index offenses were reported to police during 2015 compared to 27,987 during 2014 for a crime rate decrease of  -7.1%.

The 26,000 crimes reported in 2015 represent a crime rate of 20 offenses per 1000 people in Maine. That number compares to the national crime rate of 30 offenses per 1,000 population in 2014.

The total number of adults & juveniles summoned or cited by police dropped in 2015 for the seventh year in a row. Adult arrests dropped -5.3% in 2015 (41,649 arrests reported in 2015 vs 43,957 arrests reported in 2014).  Juveniles arrested or summoned decreased by -9.7% in 2014 (3,547 juvenile arrests/summonsed reported in 2015 vs. 3,926 juveniles arrested/summonsed reported in 2014).

The value of property stolen during 2015 was reported as $20,346,695 compared to $21,239,896 reported in 2014.  Police recovered $5,691,929 in stolen property in 2015 vs. $5,191,038 in stolen property during 2014 for a recovery rate of 24.4%. The crime rate for violent crime in Maine continues to be one offense per 1,000 populations compared to the national average of 4 per 1,000 populations.