Crime in Maine increased 5.4 percent during 2011 – the largest jump since 1975, the Maine Department of Public Safety announced today.
 
Public Safety Commissioner John Morris said every crime category went up last year, except a slight decrease in robberies, according to a news release.
 
“Drugs are the main reason for the increase as addicts commit crimes to feed their habits,” Morris said. “Prescription drug abuse is responsible for much of the state’s drug problem. Although Maine continues to be one of the safest states in the country, the crime numbers are troubling.”
 
Burglaries increased for the third year in a row, up 10 percent in 2011 (8,079 reported in 2011 vs. 7,343 in 2010). Burglaries rose 8.6 percent in 2010.
 
Larceny-thefts increased in 2011 by 3.5 percent (25,344 thefts reported in 2011 vs. 24,490 reported in 2010). Larcenies rose 2.4 percent in 2010.
 
Although robberies decreased 2.4 percent in 2011, Maine police reported only ten less fewer robbery cases than the year before (406 cases in 2011 vs. 416 cases in 2010). Robberies had increased in 2010 by 4.3 percent and in 2009 saw a 19.9 percent increase in robberies.
 
Both aggravated assaults and simple assaults increased in 2011. Aggravated assaults, which involve serious injury and usually a weapon, increased by 16.3 percent (884 cases in 2011 vs. 760 cases in 2010). Simple assaults increased by 15.3 percent (12,200 cases reported in 2011 vs. 10,581 simple assaults for 2010).
 
Arson saw an increase of 6.1 percent during 2011, with 15 additional cases reported (260 cases in 2011 vs. 245 cases in 2010). The value of the property damaged by arson fires jumped by $1.3 million, from $4.7 million during 2010 to $6 million.
 
Motor vehicle thefts increased by 5.5 percent in 2011 (1,039 vehicles were stolen in 2011 vs. 985 vehicles stolen in 2010).
 
There were 28 homicides in 2011 compared to 24 homicides in 2010.
 
There were 414 rape cases reported to law enforcement in 2011 which were 25 more cases than were reported in 2010. The percentage increase for rape-sexual assault was 6.4 percent.
 
Domestic-violence assaults also increased during 2011 by 4.6 percent in 2011 (5,353 reported in 2011 vs. 5,117 reported in 2010). This increase reversed three straight years of declines in domestic-violence assaults in Maine.

Crime in the rural areas increased 3.5 percent in 2011, while crime in the cities and towns increased by 6 percent.
 
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 36,248 crime index offenses were reported to police during 2011 compared to 34,407 during 2010 for a total crime rate increase of 5.4 percent.
 
The 36,248 crimes reported in 2011 represent a crime rate of 27.9 offenses per 1,000 people in Maine. That number compares to the national crime rate of 33.5 offenses per 1,000 population in 2010.
                                                                                                                     
The total number of adults and juveniles arrested, summoned or cited by police decreased in 2011 for the third year in a row. Adult arrests dropped 3.3 percent (46,221 in 2011 vs. 47,820 in 2010) and juvenile arrests decreased by 16.1 percent during 2011 (5,450 in 2011 vs. 6,492 in 2010).
 
The value of property stolen during 2011 was $29.6 milion compared to $24.9 million in 2010. Police recovered $6.2 million of stolen property during 2011 for a recovery rate of 23.2 percent.
 
The crime rate for violent crime in Maine continues to be one offense per 1,000 population compared to the national average of four per 1,000 population.