Maine, the picturesque northeastern state known for its friendly folks and breathtaking landscapes, isn’t all sunshine and lobsters.
There are corners of this Vacationland that are grappling with the grim reality of crime. RoadSnacks has done the legwork for you, pinpointing the areas in Maine that have been less fortunate in their battle against crime in 2024.
How did we get our hands on this information? We turned to the numbers. We scrutinized 55 cities, relying on the FBI’s most recent crime report, which provided us with data on violent and property crimes for each location with a population exceeding 5,000.
Our findings were surprising – Maine’s crime rates are significantly lower than the national average. Even more startling, the city with the highest rates of assault and murder in the state has a population of less than 6,000.
Maine’s crime statistics for 2024 are a bit of a paradox. The state reported a total of 121 violent crimes and 1,507 property crimes, yet it managed to steer clear of the top twenty most dangerous states in the nation.
Furthermore, none of Maine’s cities found their way onto the list of the country’s most dangerous cities for 2022. However, the state’s most crime-ridden areas haven’t been as fortunate.
These areas are crying out for improved job opportunities, increased wages, and robust rehabilitation programs to tackle their escalating crime rates.
So, are you curious about which parts of Maine could use a little extra love and care? Read on, my friend.
10 Riskiest Places
Augusta, the capital city of Maine, is one of the least densely populated state capitals in the United States, with a population of just 18,653.
The city is home to several notable landmarks, including the University of Maine at Augusta, the Blaine House, Fort Western, and the Viles Arboretum. Over the past two decades, the city has been making concerted efforts to revitalize its downtown district to attract more businesses and residents.
However, Augusta is not without its challenges. The city has a higher crime rate compared to the state average, with higher instances of robbery, assault, violent crime, burglary, and car thefts.
While these crimes are less frequent than the national average, the number of larceny and property crimes in Augusta surpasses the US average. This has contributed to a gradual decrease in the city’s population since 2009.
- Population: 18,653
- Violent Crimes Per 100k: 402
- Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,307
Houlton, a small town located at the junction of Highways 1 and 95, is known for its low unemployment rate and affordable housing. The town is situated on the US/Canada border, making it a strategic location for cross-border trade.
Despite its small-town charm, Houlton has a crime rate that is higher than the state average, but lower than the national average.
The town sees a higher number of larceny and aggravated assault cases, with 145 and 21 cases respectively. This has led to a gradual decrease in the town’s population since 2011, with a brief increase in 2016.
- Population: 5,713
- Violent Crimes Per 100k: 385
- Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,905
Waterville is a city that has seen its population gradually increase since 2011, despite having one of the highest crime rates in Maine.
The city has a significant number of residents earning less than $10,000 per year, but it also has a higher percentage of residents with doctorate degrees compared to the average US city.
The city has a high property crime rate, with 2,497 incidents per 100,000 people. All categories of crime, including car theft, larceny, burglary, aggravated assault, violent crime, and robbery, are higher than the state’s average.
Interestingly, Waterville has a higher female-to-male ratio, with a 53/46% split, which is greater than the state and national averages.
- Population: 16,654
- Violent Crimes Per 100k: 192
- Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,497
It is one of the oldest European settlements in the United States, having been settled by Europeans in 1616. Today, it is the commercial center of the county, with a population of 21,530.
However, with an increase in population, the city has seen a rise in crime rates. While its violent crime rate is below the national average, it is above the average rate for Maine. The majority of Biddeford’s property crimes are in the form of larceny.
- Population: 21,530
- Violent Crimes Per 100k: 232
- Property Crimes Per 100k: 1,955
Auburn, a town in southern Maine, was once a major player in the shoe business. A century ago, a single factory in Auburn produced three-quarters of all the white canvas shoes sold worldwide.
However, the town’s reputation has shifted significantly over the past century.
Today, Auburn is known more for its high crime rate than its shoe production, ranking as the fifth most dangerous spot in Maine.
Despite having a population of just 23,455, the city records 46 violent crimes in a year, a figure that is concerning for a town of its size.
- Population: 23,455
- Violent Crimes Per 100k: 196
- Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,208
Bangor, a city with a population of 32,179, has a lot to offer. From a casino and museums to a 30-foot statue of Paul Bunyan, the city is rich in attractions. However, the city’s crime rate is a cause for concern.
Despite being a small town in many states, Bangor is the third largest city in Maine. The city records 63 car thefts and 13 robberies in a year, figures that are considered high for a city of its size.
- Population: 32,179
- Violent Crimes Per 100k: 158
- Property Crimes Per 100k: 3,750
Skowhegan, located just over an hour’s drive west of Bangor, is a small community known for its art scene. The town is home to the internationally-renowned Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and hosts the oldest state fair in the United States, the Skowhegan State Fair.
However, Skowhegan has a higher-than-average crime rate, with property crime being the most prevalent. The town recorded 226 cases of property crime in the last reporting year, a figure that is concerning for a community of its size.
- Population: 8,202
- Violent Crimes Per 100k: 170
- Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,755
Lewiston, situated between Maine’s capital, Augusta, and Portland, is the second largest city in Maine. The city is known for its cultural diversity, being home to the largest French-speaking community in the United States. It boasts great schools, access to medical care, and low crime rates.
However, Lewiston has recently seen a rise in crime rates, pushing it up to the eighth most dangerous city in Maine. The city’s averages for murder, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, car theft, and property crime are significantly higher than the state averages.
- Population: 36,186
- Violent Crimes Per 100k: 268
- Property Crimes Per 100k: 1,765
9. Presque Isle
Presque Isle, a city in northern Maine, offers a balance of big-city amenities and small-town charm. The city is home to three colleges, a shopping mall, and an airport. However, it also has a higher-than-average poverty rate.
The city’s crime rate is higher than the Maine average, but lower than the national average. Residents of Presque Isle are at a higher risk of being victims of car theft, larceny, burglary, and property crime.
- Population: 8,937
- Violent Crimes Per 100k: 179
- Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,349
Sanford, one of the newest cities in Maine, offers excellent schools, recreational spaces, and job opportunities. However, the city’s high crime rate has overshadowed these positives.
Sanford ranks among the top in the state for burglary, property crime, and total crime, with 600 crimes reported. The most prevalent crime in Sanford is property crime, with 565 incidents reported. This has somewhat tarnished the city’s reputation, despite its relatively recent establishment.
- Population: 21,272
- Violent Crimes Per 100k: 164
- Property Crimes Per 100k: 2,656
5 Safety Tips for Traveling to Maine
1. Avoid flashing jewelry or cash needlessly.
Why tempt fate when in unfamiliar territory – or at all?
Anyone who approaches and demands valuables or money – don’t argue – hand it over and contact the authorities immediately.
2. Avoid leaving valuables in plain sight in your car.
It is smarter to lock them in a trunk out of sight – but do so before you get to your final destination – where would-be thieves can see your strategy.
If you have an alarm, make sure to engage it.
3. When traveling late at night and needing gas, try to choose a well-lit station.
Many criminals are opportunistic – patiently waiting for the right moment when their target least expects.
4. Maine is subject to some brutal winter weather.
Snowfall averages in Maine differ – depending on if the location is near the coast.
Inland areas receive 60-110 inches of snow on average, whereas coastal areas may see 50-70 inches each year.
5. Take the time to enjoy its favorite iconic food – the lobster roll.
Lobster is caught fresh off the Maine coast.
So, you will see Lobster rolls and other delectable Maine treats being served out of food trucks, pop-up roadside stands, and at most local restaurants.
Traditional lobster rolls are served on a buttered hot dog bun.
Most Terrible Crime Ever In Maine
One of the most horrific crimes in Maine’s history occurred in the small town of Amity in 2010, a crime that sent shockwaves through the state and beyond.
The brutal murders of three people in their home by a man named Thayne Ormsby marked a dark chapter in Maine’s crime history.
Ormsby, who was 20 years old at the time, was convicted of the triple homicide, a crime that was described as both shocking and senseless.
The victims were 55-year-old Jeffrey Ryan, his 10-year-old son Jesse, and a family friend, 30-year-old Jason Dehahn. They were all stabbed to death in Ryan’s home.
The crime scene was described as one of the most gruesome that investigators had ever encountered. The motive for the crime was reportedly a mistaken belief by Ormsby that Ryan was a drug dealer, a claim that was later proven to be unfounded.
The crime had a profound impact on the small community of Amity, which had a population of just over 200 people.
The horrific nature of the crime and the loss of three of their own left the community in shock and mourning.
The case also drew national attention, highlighting the tragic reality that even the most peaceful and close-knit communities are not immune to violent crime.
Despite the passage of time, the memory of this horrific crime continues to haunt the residents of Amity and the state of Maine.
Where can I find the northeasternmost point in the contiguous U.S.?
The northeasternmost point within the lower 48 states of the U.S. is situated in Maine, specifically between the towns of Grand Isle and Van Buren.
When is the optimal time to go skiing in Maine?
Maine provides a plethora of outdoor activities throughout the year. However, for skiing enthusiasts, the best time to visit is after New Year’s Day and before President’s Weekend to avoid large crowds and long lines.
What is the maximum amount of snow a Nor-easter can bring to Maine in a single day?
Under ideal conditions, a Nor-easter storm can potentially deposit over 10 inches of snow in Maine within a 24-hour timeframe.
What is the safest city in Maine?
Cumberland was considered the safest city in Maine. However, for the most current information, it’s best to refer to recent crime rate statistics.
What is the most popular tourist attraction in Maine?
Acadia National Park, located on Mount Desert Island, is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Maine. It offers stunning views, hiking trails, and a variety of wildlife.
What is the best time to visit Maine for fall foliage?
The best time to visit Maine for fall foliage is typically from late September to mid-October. However, the exact timing can vary each year based on weather conditions.
What is the state animal of Maine?
The state animal of Maine is the moose, which is also one of the largest animals in North America.
While Maine is renowned for its picturesque landscapes and friendly locals, it’s not immune to the challenges of crime.
The state’s crime rates, although lower than the national average, are a concern in certain areas. Cities like Augusta, Houlton, Waterville, Biddeford, Auburn, Bangor, Skowhegan, Lewiston, Presque Isle, and Sanford have been identified as the riskiest places in Maine based on crime rates.
These areas, despite their unique charms and attractions, are grappling with issues of robbery, assault, violent crime, burglary, and car thefts.