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Crime rate decreases in Aroostook County

HOULTON, Maine — The crime rate in Aroostook County decreased last year, according to the state Department of Public Safety’s annual crime report.

In 2016, there were 13.76 crimes committed per 1,000 people in Aroostook County, according to the report. Last year, there were 10.23 such crimes per 1,000 people.

The trend in Aroostook County mostly mirrors that of crimes statewide, according to Steve McCausland, spokesperson for the department. Crime in Maine dropped overall by 8 percent last year, despite a 17 percent increase in reported rapes.

Statistics released on Oct. 18 indicate that 2017 represents the sixth consecutive year that reported crimes have decreased in Maine. Since 2011, crime overall has dropped in the state by 46.8 percent.

The report also states that index crimes decreased last year over 2016. Index crimes are the eight crimes the Federal Bureau of Investigation combines to produce its annual crime index. These offenses include willful homicide, forcible rape, robbery, burglary, aggravated assault, larceny over $50, motor vehicle theft and arson, according to the FBI. In 2016, there were 937 index crimes in Aroostook County, versus 691 last year.  

The County also saw a decrease in the number of homicides, from two murders committed in 2016 to one murder last year. The number of rapes fell from 26 reported in 2016 to 20 last year, and the number of robberies dropped from six in 2016 to five last year. An increase in aggravated assault was noted, however, from 59 in 2016 to 63 last year. There was a significant drop in the number of burglaries, from 150 in 2016 to 103 last year, the reported noted.

The number of reported motor vehicle thefts and arson fires has declined in The County, according to the Department of Public Safety. There were 42 vehicles reported stolen in 2016, versus 24 last year, and the number of arsons dropped from eight in 2016 to two in 2017.

Police in the region solved more crimes last year than they did in 2016, according to the report. The clearance rate was 44.6 percent in 2016, and that increased to 51.4 percent last year.

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