WATCH LIVE

Maine Crime Rates 

(AP) – Crime in Maine inched up slightly in 2008, with rural crime going up nearly 7 percent and crime in urban areas edging down. According to figures released Monday by the Maine Department of Public Safety, the number of reported crimes rose 0.6 percent for the year. That compares with a 3.4 percent decline in 2007. Assaults, aggravated assaults and larcenies went up, and the homicide count of 31 hit the highest level since 1989. Robbery, burglary, auto theft, rape, arson and domestic violence were all down for the year.Full Report from the Department of Public Safety:Crime in Maine increased just over a half of a percent during 2008, according to the Maine Department of Public Safety. The 2008 increase in crime was +0.6%. Maine saw a decrease during 2007 of -3.4%, and increases totaling 5% for the two previous years.   Public Safety Commissioner Anne H. Jordan said the index crimes that saw increases in 2008 were homicides, assaults (both aggravated and simple assaults) and theft.  All other categories went down including robbery, burglary, rape and domestic violence.  Jordan said, “Despite a recent rash in armed robberies and a number of suspicious deaths this year, Maine continues to be one of the safest states in the country.  With the exception of homicide and assaults, Maine saw decreases of most other crimes last year.” Jordan said there were 31 homicides during 2008, compared to 21 homicides in 2007.  The 2008 homicide number was the highest in Maine since 1989.      Both aggravated and simple assaults increased for the second year in a row. Aggravated assaults during 2008 increased by +2.5% (813 cases in 2008 vs. 793 cases in 2007) and simple assaults increased by +2.7% (11,570 cases in 2008 vs. 11,264 cases in 2007). Aggravated assault involves serious bodily injury or the use of a dangerous weapon while simple assault does not. Robberies decreased for the second year in a row. In 2008, robberies declined by -4.9% (332 cases in 2008 vs. 349 cases in 2007) and robberies also went down nearly 9% in 2007. However robberies in the preceding five years had increased a total of +30.1%.  Burglaries in 2008 decreased -2.4% (6,516 in 2008 vs. 6,677 in 2007) and also dropped the year before.  Thefts increased in 2008 by +2.2% (24,582 thefts in 2008 vs. 24,060 thefts in 2007).    The Commissioner said reported rape-sexual assaults decreased by -5.1% in 2008 (373 case reported in 2008 vs. 393 cases reported in 2007). Domestic violence assaults also decreased by -8.% in 2008 (5,311 reported in 2008 vs. 5,771 in 2007). Jordan said last year’s rape and domestic violence numbers reversed three consecutive years of increases.             Jordan said, “Maine continues to work to reduce this violence against women and victims are more willing to report the crimes.” Jordan encouraged victims of sexual assault and domestic violence to contact police, as well as support groups. The Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence phone number is 866-834-HELP or [ http://www.mcedv.org/ ]www.mcedv.org and the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault’s phone number is 800-871-7741 or www[ http://www.mecasa.org/ ].mecasa.org  Arson saw a decrease (-22.6%) during 2008 (188 cases in 2008 vs. 243 cases in 2007). The value of the property damaged by arson fires also decreased ($3,107,823 during 2008 vs. $3,825,380 during 2007).    Motor vehicle thefts decreased by -6.9%in 2008 (1,173 cases in 2008 vs. 1,260 cases in 2007).  Overall crime in rural areas, patrolled by State Police and sheriff’s departments, showed an increase of +6.6% in 2008. Rural crimes going up in 2008 were aggravated assault (+19.8%), burglary (+8.1), larceny theft (+5.6%) and motor vehicle theft (+10.4%). Crimes going down in the rural areas were robbery (-48.3%), rape (-15.2%), arson (-60.7%), and simple assault (-1%). Crime in urban areas decreased by -0.7% in 2008.  Urban areas are made of communities with full time police departments. Urban crimes showing increases were larceny / theft (+1.5%) and simple assault (+3.8%). Urban crime that decreased during 2008 were rape (-2.5%), robbery (-0.9%), aggravated assault (-2.1%), burglary (-7.8%), motor vehicle theft (-14.8%), and arson (-9.9%).  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 34,008 crime index offenses were reported to police during 2008 compared to 33,796 during 2007 for a total crime rate increase of +0.6%.  Offenses comprising the crime index include murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft and arson. The 34,008 crimes reported in 2008 represent a crime rate of 25.8 offenses per 1,000 people within Maine, which is also the same crime rate for Maine in 2007. That number compares to the national crime rate of 37.5 offenses per 1,000 population in 2007. The 2008 national crime rate is not yet available.                                                                                                                        The total number of adults and juveniles arrested, summoned or cited by police decreased in 2008. Adult arrests dropped -1.2% (49,935 in 2008 vs. 50,531 in 2007) and juvenile arrests decreased by -3.5% during 2008 (6,842 in 2008 vs. 7,092 in 2007) Juvenile arrests have dropped in Maine in four of the past five years for a total of -29.4% for that five year period. The value of property stolen during 2008 was $27,898,529 compared to $27,453,736 in 2007. Police recovered $6,931,815 of stolen property during 2008 for a recovery rate of 24.8%.  The crime rate for violent crime in Maine for 2008 was one offense per 1,000 population compared to the national average of 4.7 per 1,000 for 2007. “Crime in Maine” is the annual publication of reported crime statistics from UCR. Past “Crime in Maine” numbers will be posted on the Department of Public Safety’s web page later in the summer at [ http://www.maine.gov/dps ]www.Maine.gov/dps . Questions about local trends should be directed to police chiefs and sheriffs for detailed local crime statistics.  5-Year (2004 – 2008) Maine Crime Summaries  2008 2007 2006 2005 2004Overall Crime +0.6% -3.4% +4.6% +0.4% -1.2%Rural Crime +6.6% -5.2% +1.9% +4.4% +3.1%Urban Crime -0.7% -3.2% +1.3% -0.5% -2.3%Aggravated Assault +2.5% +1.7% -5.6% +12.1% -2.4%Assault +2.7% +3.3% -1.1% +6.8% -5.7%Robbery -4.9% -8.9% +18.6% +11.8% 0%Burglary -2.4% -1.5% +7.9% -1.1% -3.4%Auto Theft -6.9% -6.0% -0.3% +3.0% -10%Larceny-Theft +2.2% -4.4% +4.2% +0.2% +0.1%Arson -22.6% +25.9% +9% -6.8% -1.1%Rape -5.1% +15.6% +5.6% +2.5% -10.5%Domestic Violence -8% +3.9% +1.7% +5.2% -3.2Murder 31 21 23 19 19Adult arrests -1.2% +1.8% +7% -1.2% +1.2%Juv. arrests -3.5% -8.7% +0.6% -9.6% -8.2%