Crime in Maine
It’s time we come clean about lawlessness in Bar Harbor and the State of Maine: there’s not much. This could be my most boring blog entry yet. We’ve been hearing a lot lately about New York City being the safest big city in America for 2009, with 89 homicides in first three months in a population of 8,345,075. This works out to an annualized murder figure for 2009 of 356 and a rate of 4.3 per 100,000. Here in Maine we had 26 murders in 2009 in a population of 1,316,456. This works out to a rate of 1.98 per 100,000, and in 2008 it was 2.35 and in 2007 it was 1.59 per 100,000. The jumps just reflect the fluctuations in a small population, over time the rate is pretty close to 2 per 100,000, half the rate of the safest city in America (2009, projection) and 37% of the average for the entire U.S. (2008). There were no murders here in Hancock county in 2008.
To look at state comparisons, I’ll have to rely on 2004 data, but the conclusion is the same. Maine is 47th in the overall crime rate, followed only by Vermont, South Dakota, North Dakota and New Hampshire. In Violent crime, Maine is 50th, bested only by North Dakota (there are 51 total including D.C.). Finally, in property crime Maine stands at 46th. Anyone who has studied capital punishment knows that the states which still execute tend to have higher crime rates, and Maine fits the pattern, we abolished executions in 1887. The Maine Morning Sentinel also reports that we incarcerate fewer of our citizens per 100,000 than any other state. The nation as a whole puts one out of 100 in prison compared to Maine’s 1 in 366.
A quick read of the “police beat” section of our local Bar Harbor Times usually provides more chuckles than horror. Loud parties, a bear in a tree at City Hall, summons for not wearing seat belt, drunk tourist needing help finding cruise ship, youth driving golf cart on the road and one resident complaining, “some function at the Baptist Church was shaking my house”. The more serious cases often involve an advanced state of cabin fever psychosis, when someone snaps and shoots a family member. Thefts, for some reason always end up with the perpetrator, after being caught with the stolen rifle or chainsaw, “running into the woods”. He turns up at the nearest convenience store six hours later and gives himself up.
When you come to Maine, be assured that crime is not a big problem. You should still lock your car but if something goes missing it might have been taken by another tourist! Maine crime rates peak in the months of July and August. Remember, the police don’t have a lot to do so please be aware of our .08% blood alcohol limit for driving. And wear that seatbelt!