According to the latest statistics from Maine’s Department of Public Safety, crime in Maine is down by a rate of more than 50 percent over the last seven years, and down by more than nine percent over last year alone.
Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck says the figures show that Maine remains one of the safest states in the country.
But the statistics show that not all types of crime have gone down. Simple assaults were up nearly 5% over the previous year, and there were 23 homicides in 2018 — 9 of them related to domestic violence — compared with 21 in 2017. Nonetheless, reported incidents of domestic violence were down by more than 11% in 2018 compared with the previous year.
Reported rapes also remained virtually unchanged, something that is an ongoing concern. Sauschuck says that he is convinced sexual crimes continue to be under-reported, with victims often reluctant to report them to police.
Sauschuck says the latest numbers also reflect positive changes about policing. For example, he says, an officer may spend hours working with someone in crisis, thereby assisting them in getting the help they need, rather than making an arrest.
“We are trying to do things the right way,” he says. “We are trying to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.”
He says police are working harder than ever, even as crime stats are down.
“Good job. It’s a nine-point three percent decrease,” Sauschuck says. “I think the workload of law enforcement is going up, drastically going up."
Barbara Cariddi contributed to this report.
Originally published Oct. 23, 2019 at 3:55 p.m. ET.