AUGUSTA, Maine — Crime has dropped for a fourth consecutive year in Maine with a 7 percent decline in 2015, but law enforcement officials are concerned about an increase in several categories of violent crime, officials said Monday.
Four of the five categories that saw increases were crimes against people: rape, robbery, aggravated assaults and homicides, according to the Maine Department of Public Safety. The other category that saw an increase was motor vehicle thefts.
The 26,000 crimes reported in 2015 represent a crime rate of 20 offenses per 1,000 people in Maine. Overall, the total decline in crime during the past four years in Maine was nearly 30 percent, according to the report.
Public Safety Commissioner John Morris said law enforcement officers continue to grapple with abuse of heroin, fentanyl and prescription opioids.
“As hopeful as the overall crime numbers are, drugs are still the driving force for most of Maine crime,” he said.
There were variations in rural versus urban crime.
Urban crimes investigated by local police departments dropped 7.6 percent with the only increases recorded in rapes and robberies, according to the report.
In rural Maine, patrolled by state troopers and sheriff’s deputies, crime rates went down in every category except aggravated assaults, car thefts and homicides.