Crime in Maine has declined for the third straight year, says the Portland Press Herald. The number of reported crimes has decreased 4.1 percent since 2002. Even persistently troublesome categories of crimes such as domestic violence and sexual assaults are down, following sharp increases in previous years. Public Safety Commissioner Michael Cantara said part of the decrease can be attributed to good work by police and victims’ advocates, and broader community awareness about crimes that were once considered private matters. Cantara noted that domestic violence and sexual assault historically are underreported. Combined with what appears to be a rise in rural crime, the statistics give him reasons to be concerned.
Maine’s overall statistics are consistent with a national decline in crime that is not easily explained, said Andrew Karmen of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. Maine’s declining crime rate could stem from several factors, including a simple demographic trend, Karmen said. Maine has become the oldest state in the country, and as a result it has relatively fewer 18- to 24-year-old men, who commit the most crimes.”Demographics do matter,” Karmen said. “When you have fewer of the people in the crime-prone years, crime does go down. When you have more, it is a recipe for disaster.”