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Maine crime dips during pandemic for 9th consecutive year

November 29, 2021 GMT

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Crime dropped during during the pandemic in 2020 in Maine, marking the ninth consecutive annual decline, officials said Monday.

Violent crime dropped 4.9% from 2019, while overall crime declined 6.1%, the Maine Department of Public Safety said.

Public Safety Commissioner Michael Sauschuck thanked law enforcement officers for their continued dedication during the pandemic.

“Our complex world was complicated further with ongoing COVID-related protocols and safety concerns, but you selflessly reported for duty. This is just the latest example of your willingness to evolve as a profession,” Sauschuck said in a statement.

Robbery, aggravated assaults and rape all saw declines, while the number of homicides was unchanged, officials said. Domestic assaults and property crimes also declined, officials said.

There were a few aberrations. Arson increased 23.4%, motor vehicle thefts grew 18.4% and simple assaults grew 12.1%.

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Victim advocates cautioned that the figures don’t capture the full extent of crimes like rape and domestic assault.

For example, the figures showed there were 489 reported rapes, but it’s estimated that 14,000 Mainers experience the crime each year, said Elizabeth Ward Saxl, of the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

The Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence noted that there was no decline in the number of calls to its 24-hour help line despite a drop in law enforcement reports, said Francine Garland Stark, executive director.