AUGUSTA, Maine - Crime in Maine decreased 8.7 percent during 2016, according to the Maine Department of Public Safety.
It is the fifth consecutive year that crime has decreased in Maine for a total decline during the past five years of 38.6 percent.
Crime dropped 7.1 percent in 2015, 13 percent in 2014, 8.3 percent in 2013, and 1.5 percent in 2012.
"The fifth consecutive drop in crime is encouraging, but drugs are still the driving force behind most crime in Maine," said Public Safety Commissioner John Morris. "Drugs still affect all Maine law enforcement, with much of the drugs coming into Maine from out of staters affiliated with gangs," Morris said.
Increases were reported in rape, aggravated assault and arson for 2016.
Arson saw the largest increase in crime, up +129.7% during 2016, (209 incidents reported for 2016 vs. 91 incidents in 2015). The increase is primarily due to a new reporting system by the State Fire Marshal's' Office. Before any police agency reported arson and now fire marshals, who investigate all cases of arson, will be the sole reporting agency. The value of property damaged by arson fires in 2016 was $3,498,904 vs. $1,568,006 reported for 2015.
Rape incidents reported increased +2.7% for 2016. There were 383 rape cases in 2016 vs. 373 reported in 2015. This was the second year that rape cases went up.
Aggravated assaults, which involve serious injury and usually a weapon, increased +9.4% for 2016. There were 1,002 aggravated assaults in 2016 vs. 916 incidents in 2015. Aggravated assault also showed an increase in 2015.
All other crime categories went down in 2016.
Robberies decreased -14.5% for 2016 (266 robberies in 2016 vs. 311 robberies reported in 2015). Robbery had an increase in 2015.
Burglary decreased -14.6% in 2016 (3,991 incidents reported in 2016 vs. 4,675 incidents reported in 2015).
Larceny-theft decreased -9% for 2016 (17,104 incidents reported in 2016 vs. 18,801 reported in 2015).
Simple assaults decreased -4.1% in 2016 (9,320 incidents reported in 2016 vs. 9,722 incidents in 2015).
Burglary, larceny-theft, and simple assaults have gone down in each of the past five years.
There were 18 homicides investigated in 2016, compared to 23 homicides in 2015.
Motor vehicle thefts reported a decrease of -4.3% for 2016 (775 stolen vehicles in 2016 vs. 810 stolen vehicles in 2015).
Domestic violence assaults decreased -7.7% in 2016 (4,675 incidents reported in 2016 vs. 5,067 incidents in 2015). Domestic violence has gone down in the each of the past four years.
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 a decrease of -9.8% and crimes reported in cities and towns dropped -8.3%.
In the rural areas, patrolled by State Police and sheriff's departments, agencies reported a -7.3% decrease in crimes. Crimes went up in robbery, rape, and arson. Robberies increased +3.8% (27 reported in 2016 vs. 26 reported in 2015). Rape also increased at a rate of +12.7% (80 rape incidents reported in 2015 vs. 71 reported in 2015). Arsons also showed an increase with 1564 arsons in 2016 vs. 15 in 2015. The arson increase is due to a new reporting system by the State Fire Marshal's Office.
Urban crimes are from communities with police departments and agencies reported a -9% decrease in crime. Rapes and aggravated assaults reported an increased. Rapes reported in 2016 showed an increase of +0.3%, with 303 rapes reported for 2016 vs. 302 reported in 2015. Aggravated assaults also showed an increase of +16.3%, (755 reported incidents in 2016 vs. 649 incidents reported in 2015).
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 23,748 crime index offenses were reported to police during 2016 compared to 26,000 during 2015 for an overall crime rate decrease of -8.7%.
The 23,748 crimes reported in 2016 represent a crime rate of 18 offenses per 1000 people in Maine. That number compares to the national crime rate of 29 offenses per 1,000 populations in 2015.
The total number of adults & juveniles summoned or cited by police dropped in 2016 for the eighth year in a row. Adult arrests dropped -3.4% in 2016 (40,227 arrests report for 2016 vs. 41,649 arrests reported in 2015). Juveniles arrested or summoned decreased by -9.2% in 2016 (3,222 juveniles arrested for 2016 vs. 3,547 juvenile arrests reported in 2015).
The value of property stolen during 2016 was reported as $17,906,593 compared to $20,346,695 reported in 2015. Police recovered $5,106,200 in stolen property in 2016 vs. $5,691,929 in stolen property during 2015 for a recovery rate of 28.5%.
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.