Safest Cities in Maine – 2020

Last Updated on January 19, 2020

Maine is one of the safest states in the nation, by a wide margin: the state’s violent crime rate is less-than-a-third of the national rate, while its property crime is at 62% of the national level. Even more impressive is the fact that crime in Maine has decreased for 7 years straight through 2018. Let’s take a look at the Pine Tree State’s safest cities, which all recorded single-digit violent crime numbers in 2018, an unparalleled feat.

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Crime rate per 1,000
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Law enforcement per 1,000

The safest community in Maine is Kennebunk, a town of 11,463 in York County. Kennebunk is a nature lover’s dream, home to several beaches, a nature conservancy, and the Rachel Carson National WIldlife Refuge. The town is very safe, too, earning a violent crime rate of just 0.52 per 1,000, and a property crime rate less-than-a-quarter of the national rate.

The Cumberland County town of Gorham is Maine’s 2nd safest community. Home to several campuses of the University of Southern Maine, Gorham earned the state’s lowest rate of violent crime in 2018, just 0.23 offenses per 1,000 people.

#3 Wells continues Maine’s streak of remarkably safe municipalities. The popular summer tourist destination, which was founded way back in 1643, recorded just 6 violent crimes in 2018.

Falmouth of Cumberland County earns the 4th spot on the list. The town is another tourist hot spot, boasting three private golf clubs, a yacht club, and a long stretch of sandy beaches. Travelers and residents, alike, can rest easy in Falmouth, knowing that crime is exceedingly scarce.

#5 Scarborough is a bit larger than preceding entries, with a population that cracks 20K. Nevertheless, the town’s crime rates are on par with others in the ranking: Scarborough earned the 2nd lowest violent crime rate in Maine, though the town’s marginally higher property crime rate brings it down a bit.

Maine’s Safest Cities

MECityPopulationViolent
crime
Property
crime
Law enforcement
employees
Total crimesCrime rate per 1,000Violent crimes per 1,000Property crimes per 1,000Law enforcement per 1,000
1Kennebunk1146365125574.970.524.452.18
2Gorham1760949326975.510.235.281.48
3Wells1041267930858.160.587.592.88
4Falmouth1230778728947.640.577.072.28
5Scarborough2007272535926012.950.3512.602.94
6Orono114511090151008.730.877.861.31
7Saco19628213094533016.811.0715.742.29
8Lewiston36170845989468218.862.3216.532.60
9Brunswick20672283614638918.821.3517.462.23
10South Portland25557364555749119.211.4117.802.23
11Westbrook18915333584439120.671.7418.932.33
12Portland669971921626214181827.142.8724.273.19
13Biddeford21519646737773734.252.9731.273.58
14Augusta18523606185967836.603.2433.363.19
15Sanford21062565684262429.632.6626.971.99
16Waterville16729305364156633.831.7932.042.45
17Auburn23031507655681535.392.1733.222.43
18Bangor3174656130091135642.711.7640.952.87

Methodology

To identify the safest cities, we reviewed the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report statistics. We eliminated any cities that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI and cities with populations under 10,000. This left 3,381 cities (out of a total of 9,251). 

There are two broad classifications of crimes: violent crimes and non-violent crimes. According to the FBI, “Violent crime is composed of four offenses: murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Violent crimes are defined in the UCR Program as those offenses that involve force or threat of force. Property crime includes the offenses of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. The object of the theft-type offenses is the taking of money or property, but there is no force or threat of force against the victims. ”

We computed the total number of crimes reported by each city by adding violent crimes and property crimes. We then created a crime rate as the number of crimes per 1,000 population. Then we transformed the total crime rate variable so that the skewness was reduced and normalized.

Data from 2,831 law enforcement agencies was then collected to determine police adequacy (TotalCrimes / Number of police employees).  We consider that the smaller the police adequacy statistic is, the safer the city is. This variable was also transformed and normalized.

Finally, the two variables were combined to create a safety score for each city.