Maine: An Encyclopedia
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Crime

Major crime in Maine has decreased from 30.8 offenses per 1,000 population in 1998 to 27.5 in 2011. However, since 2004 the rate has increased slightly. See how Maine ranks among states on crime rates.

The Maine Department of Public Safety reported a 8.5 percent increase in property crime during the period 2000-2011, while violent crime increased by 24.5 percent. The total number of crimes in 2011 was above the 10-year high of 2006. The crime rate per 1,000 population was up by 4.8 percent.

Type Violent Property Total ME/
1,000
NE/
1,000
US/
1,000
2000 1,390 32,080 33,470 26.25 30.19 41.24
2001 1,423 33,272 34,695 26.96 30.25 41.61
2002 1,402 33,032 34,434 26.6 28.89 41.18
2003 1,412 32,281 33,693 25.8 n.a. 43.34
2004 1,348 31,928 33,276 25.26 28.09 40.06
2005 1,490 31,951 33,441 25.36 27.07 39.22
2006 1,524 33,470 34,994 26.48 27.11 38.31
2007 1,556 32,240 33,796 25.66 26.69 37.52
2008 1,549 32,459 34,008 25.83 27.56 36.88
2009 1,540 31,872 33,412 25.34 26.66 34.85
2010 1,589 33,063 34,652 26.09 26.52 33.64
2011 1,731 34,812 36,543 27.51 n.a. n.a.

Offenses comprising the “index” of major crimes include murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft and arson.

Maine consistently has fewer index offenses per 1,000 population each year than New England, and the United States as a whole. The overall index crime rate for 2010 was 26.09 offenses per 1,000 population, compared to 26.52 for New England, and 33.64 for the United States.

Crime in Maine has some peculiar seasonal aspects.  For all index crimes combined, the three month period of June, July and August shows the highest number of offenses, as the chart below, using 1986 through 2010 data, indicates.  The incidence of rape (1994-2011, earlier data not available) follows that general pattern, increasing through the spring and summer, then falling in September.

Murder, on the other hand, defies the simple “summer effect.” One reason may the relatively small number of murders compared to other crimes, even using long term data covering 1986 through 2010.

Violent Crime by Month 1994-2011

Violent Crime by Month 1994-2011

Violent Crimes

In the violent crime categories comparing 2011 with 2010, robbery declined 2.4% from 416 to 406, but aggravated assaults increased 16.3% from 760 to 884.

Reported rape increased from 389 in 2010 to 416 in 2011. Looking at trends, from 1980 to 2010,  the number of reported rapes varied widely through an annual range of 145 in 1980 to 416 in 2011. The average from 1980 through 2011 was 275.

There were 25 murders in 2011, just above the long-term (1980-2011) average of 24.3 per year. This compares to the 2002-2011 ten-year average of 21.7. Of the 25 homicide cases in 2011, 12 stemmed from domestic violence (46.2%), involving family or household members or those involved in a relationship.

The violent crime rate in Maine for 2011 was 1.3 offenses per 1,000 population. In 2010 the rates was 1.2; 2009, 1.2; 2008, 1.2; and 2007, 1.2. These are less than one-quarter (22.5%) of the national average of about 4.8 per 1,000 for these years.

See also Notorious Crimes.

Property Crimes

Among property crimes, motor vehicle thefts increased to 1,096 from 985 in 2010.  Burglary in 2011 increased from 2010’s 7,343 to 8,096.  Larceny-theft in 2011 increased to 25,360 from 24,490 in 2010.

Arson incidents in 2011 increased for the third year in a row from 243 to 245 to 260. Overall arson offenses had been declining, with the 2002-2011 average at 211. The incidence of arson from 1980 through 1990 never dropped below 310 per year. However, the value of property damaged in arson fires has tripled to over $6 million from over $2 million during 2001.

The value of property stolen from 2005 to 2010 was as follows in these distinct crimes:

Property
Robbery
Burglary
Larceny
2005
186,541
7,920,987
12,049,473
2006
265,220
7,065,251
11,810,947
2007
936,152
6,746,386
12,202,173
2008
120,599
8,757,927
12,490,421
2009
224,325
7,627,641
11,407,347
2010
439,414
8,370,639
11,863,202
2011
290,243
10,801,036
13,300,745

 

The value of property taken during robberies and burglaries has increased significantly since 2005.

Urban-Rural Distribution

In six years, the urban-rural difference in crime rates has diminished. In 2004, urban areas, which are communities having full time police agencies, had a crime rate of 32.6 per 1,000 population, compared with a rate of 14.2 per 1,000 in rural areas. In 2007 that difference had narrowed somewhat to 31.2 in urban areas and 15.4 in rural areas. By 2010 it narrowed further: 30.9 urban, 17.4 rural. In 2011 the difference widened somewhat with the urban crime rate at 33.0 per thousand, and the rural rate at 17.9.

Arrests

From 2001 through 2011, a consistently declining portion of arrests were of juveniles.  The actual number also declined from 8,194 to 5,434.

Year Arrests Adults Juveniles
2001 47,090 82.6% 17.4%
2002 55,036 83.1% 16.9%
2003 55,714 83.3% 16.7%
2004 55,554 86.4% 15.5%
2005 54,500 85.8% 14.2%
2006 57,421 86.5% 13.5%
2007 57,623 87.7% 12.3%
2008 50,015 88.0% 12.0%
2009 56,266 87.9% 12.1%
2010 54,312 88.0% 12.0%
2011 51,756 89.5% 10.5%

Additional resources

Maine Department of Public Safety. Crime in Maine. Augusta, Me. various years.

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