Maine’s low crime rates may be one reason its residents aren’t staying up at night fretting about safety. The state’s violent crime rate is 1.1 incidents per 1,000 people, which is less than half the national rate of 3.7. Property crime in Maine occurs at a rate of 13.6 incidents per 1,000, compared to 22.0 nationwide.
Maine's daily level of concern about crime and safety is 37% lower than the national average.
Not surprisingly, people in the Pine Tree State report far fewer personal experiences with crime. Even though experience with both violent (9%) and property (15%) crime increased year over year, Maine’s reports are still under national averages of 12% for violent crime and 26% for property crime.
Violent Crime in Maine: Fear vs. Reality
Maine respondents named mass shooting as the violent crime they worry about most, although they feel they’d be more likely to fall victim to a physical assault or being robbed on the street.
25% indicated high concern about mass shooting incidents, compared to 38% nationwide.
Only 10% think a mass shooting is likely to happen, versus 23% nationally.
4% reported that they, or someone they know, has been personally affected by a mass shooting at some point in their lives. Across the country, 7% report the same.
There has been one mass shooting in Maine this year. Three people were killed and one injured in the February Machias rampage.
Maine had two mass shootings between 2014 and 2019, resulting in nine deaths and one injured. There were no mass shooting incidents in Maine in 2018 and 2019.
Nationwide, there were 2,087 mass shooting incidents between 2014 and 2019.
Physical assault by a stranger and being robbed on the street tied for the violent crime survey respondents considered most likely to happen, with 16% of Maine respondents calling each out versus 26% nationwide.
Assault was the second most worrisome crime in the state (24.5% versus 24.8% for mass shooting).
41% of the violent crimes reported in the safest cities were aggravated assault, and it made up 53% of all violent crime across the state.
Robbery comprised 23% of the violent crime in the safest cities, and 15% statewide.
Property Crime in Maine: Fear vs. Reality
People in Maine reported the highest concern about someone breaking into a home while the residents are out. But having digital property stolen (like files or photos) is the property crime they think is most likely to actually occur.
57% expressed high concern about someone breaking in while not at home, compared to 62% nationwide.
Burglary made up only 18% of all property crime among the safest cities and 15% statewide.
32% felt that having digital property stolen is the crime they’re most likely to experience, versus 36% nationally.
Last year, digital security was the most concerning safety issue overall in Maine.
Just 9% of Maine respondents have a home security system. The national average is 24%.
Having a dog or other guard animal is the most common security measure used in Maine, with 28% naming it. That’s five points below the number of people who use a guard dog nationwide (33%).
A whopping 45% use no form of protection or security at all. That number is 29% across the US.
15% experienced a property crime in the past 12 months, compared to 26% nationwide.
Larceny-theft was the most common property crime, accounting for 79% of all property crime in the safest cities and 81% statewide. 50% named it their top concern, and 27% felt most likely to be a victim of property theft.
A Closer Look at Maine’s Safest Cities of 2020
For the purposes of this report, the terms “safest” and “dangerous” refer explicitly to crime rates as calculated from FBI crime data—no other characterization of any community is implied or intended.
Cumberland held on to the top spot for the second year in a row, with fewer than 20 total crimes reported.
70% of the cities improved their rank year over year.
Oakland had the biggest jump, climbing 28 spots, followed by Eliot with 24 spots, and Sabattus, which moved up 22 places to become the third safest city in Maine.
Just two cities dropped in rank this year—Hampden moved down five places and Gardiner dropped from number six to nine.
There were only 22 violent crimes reported by Maine’s 10 safest cities.
All cities came in under both state (1.1) and national (3.7) violent crime rates. No city reported more than 0.5 incidents per 1,000.
Eliot had the lowest violent crime rate at 0.0, but a higher property crime rate of 7.1 per 1,000 landed it at number four on the list.
Kennebunk had the most violent crime incidents with a grand total of six.
All cities are below the state property crime rate of 13.6, and none reported more than nine incidents per 1,000.
Cumberland had the lowest property crime rate at 2.1, with a total of 17 property crimes reported.
SafeWise uses the GVA definition of a mass shooting: “If four or more people are shot or killed in a single incident, not involving the shooter, that incident is categorized as a mass shooting based purely on that numerical threshold.”
Written by Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past six. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month testing and evaluating security products and strategies. Her safety expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her work and contributions in places like TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, HGTV, MSN, and an ever-growing library of radio and TV clips. Learn more