Gorham Police Chief Christopher Sanborn credits his department for keeping Gorham’s crime rate low. “We truly practice community policing,” he said. Robert Lowell / American Journal

GORHAM — Crime in Gorham was up in 2019, according to a recently released Maine State Police crime report.

With the town’s population increasing to 17,818 in 2019 from 17,609 in 2018, Gorham’s crime rate increased to 7.8 crimes per thousand people in 2019. In 2018, the rate was 5.62 per thousand in 2018.

In comparison, the overall crime rate for Maine in 2019 was 13.74 offenses per thousand; Westbrook had 15.7 per thousand in a population of 19,166; and Windham, 9.77 with 18,627 people.

The state’s crime statistics are not available yet for 2020.

The overall number of arrests by Gorham officers has spiraled since 2017. Police made 338 arrests in 2019; 321, 2018; and 305, 2017.

Aggravated assaults in town went up to five in 2019 from two in 2018, while burglaries dropped to seven from 20 in 2018, the state report said. In 2019, the Maine State Police statistics reported three burglary arrests by Gorham officers, down from 16 in 2018 and 4 in 2017. The town had no robbery arrests in 201, three in 2018 and three in 2017.

Drug violation arrests were up significantly in 2019 to 45 from 31 in 2018 but down slightly from 49 in 2017.

Drunk driving arrests have steadily declined over the past three years. Gorham charged 69 drivers in 2019 with operating under the influence, down from 80 in 2018 and 83 in 2017.

Gorham Police Chief Christopher Sanborn said drunk driving is handled like any “other call we handle, that also ebbs and flows.”

“We are seeing a slight uptick in OUI cases for 2021,” he said.

“We are still participating in Maine Bureau of Highway Safety grants to provide additional traffic enforcement details,” Sanborn said.

The Gorham Police Department had 23 uniformed officers on duty in 2019 and two civilians.

In 2019, Gorham enforced the law with 1.4 officers per 1,000 people compared to Westbrook with 2.2 and Windham with 1.6

Sanborn cited his department’s dedication and compassion along with fair and firm enforcement of the law for keeping the crime rate low.

“I would attribute our success not only to that reputation but also to the strong connection we have with the community we serve,” Sanborn said. “We truly practice community policing.”

Meanwhile, trade association National Council for Home Safety and Security, using the FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics, places Gorham as the second safest community in Maine in its latest rankings of communities with more than 10,000 people. The ranking was updated on Dec. 27, 2020.

The council pegs Gorham’s crime rate at 5.51, second in the state to Kennebunk, population 11,622 people, on its latest list with a 4.97 rate. Wells, Falmouth and Scarborough rounded out the National Council’s top five towns.

In 2018, the National Council ranked Gorham as the fourth safest community in Maine.

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