by Susan Gulliford
Picturesque beauty, affluence and safety go together in the state of Maine. That is the major takeaway from the ValuePenguin team’s analysis of the FBI Crime Report for The Pine Tree State. These 55 cities have crime scores that range from 158 to 3,205, and the average crime score for Maine is 1,126.
Four of the top five communities are affluent (defined as having a median household at last 50% higher than the state’s median. Three of the five communities are an easy commuting time (20 minutes or less) from the state’s largest city, Portland. For more information, you can review the full report here.
5 Safest Places in Maine
These cities have an average final crime score of 308, which is 73% lower than their typical peer in the state. With some of its lowest total violent crime rates, these five are the safest places in Maine.
This small town of over 6,200 in southern Maine earns first place. E.L.I.O.T (Eyes Looking In Our Town) is a community watch program that involves residents, businesses and the police department working together to keep crime low. The results are that Eliot reported only two violent crimes in 2014, and it has the lowest rate of property crime of any community in this research. In fact, its overall crime score is 86% lower than its typical peer in the state. The median household income in Eliot is 63% higher than the median for Maine, and the percentage of people living in poverty is noticeably lower (7.7% for Eliot versus 14.1% for Maine).
This small town (population 7,441) is approximately 20 minutes north of Portland. The police department issues a Scam Alert when citizens report swindlers (such as criminals calling people and posing as IRS agents). Cumberland has the second-lowest rate of violent crime and the second-lowest rate of property crime. It is a town with an affluent, well-educated populace; the median household income for Cumberland is 2.1 times the median household income for Maine and more than 64% of the adult population has at least a Bachelor’s degree.
The safest large place comes in at number three in the rankings. The police department has 20 full-time sworn officers and 10 reserve officers year round, and it adds reserve officers in the summer to keep crime low during the tourist season. The result is that Kennebunk is safe for residents and visitors. Kennebunk reported only six violent crimes for the year surveyed, and it had the third-lowest rate of property crime. The median household income is 49% higher than the median for Maine and less than 4% of residents live in poverty.
"Our Latchstring Always Out" is Yarmouth’s motto. It is the safest mid-size community in this research (population 8,517), and Yarmouth is a 17-minute drive from Portland. In addition to a low amount of violent crime, Yarmouth has the fifth-lowest rate of property crime. The police department offers a variety of programs including a Reassurance Program that helps elderly and disabled residents stay safe. Yarmouth has a median household income 52% higher than the state’s median, and its percentage of people in poverty is low (6.3% for Yarmouth versus 14.1% for Maine).
The largest community in the top five (population 11,585) is 13 minutes from Portland. The police department offers crime prevention tips and information on how to detect fraud. Falmouth has the third-lowest rate of violent crime and a low rate of property crime too. It is an affluent town; the median household income for Falmouth is two times the median for Maine and 66% of the residents over 25 have at least a bachelor’s degree.
Although the ValuePenguin team adjusted for population in the crime rankings, it is still difficult to compare a small town to a large city. To account for this fact, we separated the safest cities into three categories: towns with populations between 5,000 and 7,500, midsize cities with populations between 7,500 and 10,000, and larger cities with populations greater than 10,000. The largest city in Maine only has approximately 66,000 people. Here are our findings:
Full List of Places in Maine
Below is the entire list of places that were included in our “Safest Places in Maine” study. They are listed from the safest to the least safe, according to the analysis. The calculation for the crime scores can be found in the methodology section below. Take a look at the graph and see where your hometown ranks.
|32||Old Orchard Beach||1,082|
To rank these places, we collected data from the 2014 FBI crime statistics by city, which provides the most recent crime data available. Not every town participates in this report and we also excluded towns with fewer than 5,000 residents because towns with small populations are more sensitive to crime score fluctuations for fewer crimes committed. The raw data report included property crimes (burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson), and violent crimes (murder/manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) from all law enforcement agencies that chose to partake in the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting program.
The FBI Crime Report noted that ‘Because of changes in the state / local agency’s reporting practices, figures are not comparable to previous years’ data’ for Gorham, Windam and Bridgton. Those cities remained in the study because there was no indication of inaccurate reporting for the year in question.
We standardized the data to reflect violent and property crimes per 100,000, to account for population. Then, we aggregated a “crime score” by weighting violent crime at 80% and property crime at 20%. Though property crime is more prevalent, we figured that violent crime is more concerning to town residents. Then we adjusted the crime score for population size, giving more slack to larger cities. Finally, we ranked the cities based on their crime scores.
Here is an alphabetical table of all cities included with their ranks, making it easier to compare different cities. See where your city lies!
|Rank||City||Population||Violent Crime per 100K||Property Crime per 100K||Crime Score|
|32||Old Orchard Beach||8,705||115||2,286||1,082|