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Index Crimes Decreased in Maine from 2011 to 2012—More than U.S. Rate

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Index crimes, the most serious violent and property crimes reported by the state to the FBI each year, declined by 1.5 percent from 2011 to 2012. In 2012, the number of index crimes decreased by 542 to 35,073. 

This finding and others are contained in the “2014 Crime and Justice Data Book” released by the Maine Statistical Analysis Center (SAC) at the University of Southern Maine’s Muskie School of Public Service.   The 2014 Maine Crime and Justice Data Book presents a portrait of crime and justice indicators in the state, using the most recent public safety, corrections, and court data available for Maine.  The report looks at ten year trends in Maine, compares Maine figures with data from other northern New England states and the United States, and presents some county level findings as well. 

“What sets this report apart from other criminal justice oriented reports in Maine is the trend analysis,” noted report co-author George Shaler of the USM Muskie School. “This report provides policy makers, legislators, and others with meaningful trend information to make data driven decisions.”

Other key findings include:

The average number of homicides has increased over the last five years. Between 2003 and 2012, 227 homicides occurred, with a high of 31 in 2008 and a low of 17 in 2003.

Since 2010, Maine’s rate of reported rapes per 100,000 people has been higher than the national average. Since 2003, the national rate of forcible rapes has declined ‐16.7 percent, from 32 per 100,000population to 27 in 2012. Maine, on the other hand, has seen a 3.7 percent increase in this crime, to 28 per 100,000 in 2012.

The number of violent crime arrests decreased 7.5 percent between 2003 and 2012. The decrease in violent crime arrests is attributable to the 22.4 percent decline in aggravated assault arrests and the 41.1 percent decline in arrests for forcible rape since 2003. In contrast, property crime arrests increased by 12.4 percent over the last 10 years. 

The percentage of female arrests increased for the 10th consecutive year. In 2012, more than 12,000 adult women were arrested for a crime in Maine, representing an ever increasing share of all arrests in Maine, rising from 22.7 percent in 2003 to 26.5 percent in 2012.

Over the last 10 years, juveniles accounted for an increasingly smaller share of all arrests. In 2004, juvenile arrests as a share of all arrests had fallen to the lowest level in a decade (16.7 percent). In 2012, that share is even smaller, as the number of arrests for juveniles declined 35.9 percent from 2003 to 10.7 percent of all arrests, with the number of violent crime arrests of juveniles falling 40.9 percent between 2003 and 2012.

The number of criminal filings in superior court declined 39.4 percent in five years. In FY 2012, the number of criminal filings decreased 3.4 percent from FY 2011. The decline is due in part to the use of the uniform criminal docket, but it may also reflect fewer crimes occurring in Maine.

Maine continues to have the lowest adult incarceration rate per capita in the nation. In 2011, Maine’s rate of 147 inmates per 100,000 residents was the lowest in the country. Maine’s incarceration rate was more than three times lower than the national average of 492 per 100,000 residents.

The complete report can be found here.