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Lewiston, Maine continues to Experience a Decline in Crime after Somali Immigration

For years now, there have been people who don’t like the fact that immigrants from Somalia have settled in Lewiston, Maine. Some of the people who don’t like Somalis have been claiming that since the arrival of Somali immigrants in Lewiston in 2001, the crime rate has gone up.

But this is just not true. And with the release of another year of crime data via the FBI’s Crime in the United States 2014 Report this past week, the anti-Somali claim about Lewiston, Maine continues to be demonstrably untrue. The following are the violent crime rate per 100,000 population and property crime rate per 100,000 for Lewiston, Maine.

1985 to 2014 Violent Crime Rate in Lewiston


As you can see, both the violent and property crime rates were far higher before 2001, back when Lewiston, Maine was lily white. The average since 2001, when immigrants began arriving from Somalia to Lewiston, is far lower.

And it’s not like this is a change that happened everywhere in Maine. Consider another three of the “big” cities in Maine (I’ve got to put “big” in quotes, because no city in Maine has more than 100,000 people livin in it). In Augusta, Biddeford and Sanford, violent crime rose dramatically during the same period, while property crime has failed to diminish and appears to be a worse problem than in Lewiston. These are cities to which there has been no significant Somali immigration:

1985 to 2014 Property Crime Rate for Augusta, Biddeford and Sanford, Maine

1985 to 2014 Violent Crime Rate for Augusta, Biddeford and Sanford, Maine

The claim that Somali immigrants have “wrecked” Lewiston by plunging it into a crime crisis are absolutely without merit. Since Somalis have arrived in Lewiston, Lewiston has experienced less crime, not more. Other, far whiter cities of Maine are experiencing crime spikes, not Lewiston. The test of our character here in Maine will be whether we respond to these observable facts by changing our preconceptions, or reject observable facts so we can continue to hold on to our preconceptions.

12 thoughts on “Lewiston, Maine continues to Experience a Decline in Crime after Somali Immigration”

  1. Larry says:

    There is very little crime in Lewiston because the Muslim Somalis know that under the Sharia Law that now rules Lewiston that crimes are punished MUCH more severely than under civil laws (just as they would be much more severe penalties under Judaic Biblical Law).

    Except, wait a minute…. the areas that claim to be the most conservative Christian and WANT for there to be Judaic Biblical Law are actually the ones with the highest crime rates, rates of adultery, divorce rates, etcetera!

    1. Gloria J Fritzler McMillian says:

      So, the Somali’s are like police and no one not even white boys will commit not one crime? Somali’s never would think of committing a crime period? They are all good law abiding people who are so eternally grateful for the opportunity to assimilate completely and become good citizens that crime would never happen? WoW! So now what we need to do is send ships over to Somalia and round up all Somali’s and bring the all here to cover the country and walla! No more crime!!!!!!

  2. Dave says:

    I went to BING and put in “Somali fraud multiple states” and Jeepers! Maybe violent crime isn’t their thing, but …

    1. Jim Cook says:

      … anecdotes are!!!

      What you have just demonstrated is called “confirmation bias,” the tendency to look for and notice information that confirms one’s preconceptions and to downplay or ignore information that does not.

      1. Dave says:

        Chalk it up to my bigotry against Somalis. I was born this way. If you mean by anecdotes that I looked at information that cannot be easily graphed at this time then so be it. Read any five articles that appear on Bing and one can see that problems particular to Somali crime organizations are reported on from all over the world. Are you displaying confirmation bias by downplaying information that does not appear on the violent crimes graph above?

        I think some of the commenters in your previous posts on this topic are way off base, and you are right to act as advocate for people who may be at a disadvantage in their new country, but it serves no good purpose to use violent crime statistics in an attempt to sway opinion toward the belief that problems in a community go down when Somalis are present, up when they are not. Somalis have their own ways of working the system through fraudulent means rather than mugging people on the street. Many communities in the U.S. and other countries are being mugged; it just takes on a different character.

        1. Jim Cook says:

          Read any five articles that appear on Bing and you will have documented that…

          * You were interested in finding Somali crime.
          * Someone else indicated an interest in documenting crime and attaching it to a Somali ethnicity.
          * There are at least five instances of Somali crime, in a world of 7,000,000,000 people.

          Pay attention to the stories told by TV newssters and you might have been convinced this summer that the waters were unsafe what with all the sharks. But beyond the anecdotes, a count shows that more people killed themselves taking selfies than being eaten by sharks.

          Your hypothesis that Somalis cleverly engage in hidden crime is at once untestable because it supposes invisible activity and at odds with your anecdotal claim that everyone’s seeing it.

          In this big world, you can find anecdotal examples of whatever you like. I distrust anecdotes because we mistake them for systematic patterns in reality. Why not look at the systematic data instead?

          Systematic studies by others have shown that immigrants work more, not less, than native-born Americans, and as the proportion of immigrants in the United States continues to climb, the crime rate continues to fall.

          1. Dave says:

            “…as the proportion of immigrants in the United States continues to climb, the crime rate continues to fall.” Post hoc ergo propter hoc — A occurred, then B occurred. Therefore, A caused B. It’s known as a logical fallacy.

            Your earlier posts a few weeks ago had me doing a search for Somali crime in the U.S., not necessarily because of your article but because of the offhand, un-researched comments the article generated. Why I went searching for more information is one of the reasons I like reading and commenting here, that is, for the free psychoanalysis that I prompt when doing so.

            Every scientific question we are able to answer begins with a hypothesis. Anecdotal information abounds at this stage of methodology. I did not see your graphs as the settled science on this topic precisely because the model is limited to violent crime at the same time that news articles on Somali crime provide (at least anecdotal) evidence that there is more to the story.

            We are dealing with a completely different cultural mindset from our own homegrown kind. Perhaps in Somalia violent crime yields little in material gain because everyone is so poor, ergo, Somalis are not given to violent crime. One thing I’ve noticed about immigrants from many places (yes, this is an anecdote – I don’t know that statistics exist) is their ability to identify a cash flow, a concept that many Americans don’t really get. Right and wrong are often culturally established ideas.

            From the August 19th “Since the Minnesota Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) fully-staffed their new child care fraud investigative unit in the spring of 2014, they’ve worked with the FBI to shutter daycare centers around the state. Of the cases that have hit the news since then, all have involved Somali-run businesses.”

            “All have involved…” Imagine what a boring graph that would make.

          2. Jim Cook says:

            No. A occurred, but B did NOT occur. There’s a crucial difference, because it shows that even the correlation is absent. And I also show trends for property crime, not just violent crime.

  3. Scott says:

    Haha Jim, I think Dave got you here. Lewiston Maine has faced a long industrial decline since the 1960s the graphs show crime was in decline for a long time. Crime in a place like Detroit MI might in 15-20 years make a similar graph.

    1. Jim Cook says:

      Your observation is not inconsistent with my point.

    2. gloria says:

      Maybe crime has not gone up. Good. In my book no no none not one Somalian should ever commit a crime . Not one single Somalian should commit one single crime. All should be so eternally grateful to be allowed by hard working citizens who have sweat blood and tears to help these people that a crime should never cross their mind. And if in fact any commit a crime they should be punished and given a one way pass to the hell hole they must like and want to return too.

      1. Jim Cook says:

        No crime should be committed by anyone at all, we agree. Immigrants actually work at a higher rate than natives. Noncitizens who are convicted of crimes after their constitutionally-guaranteed trial are routinely deported, as made possible under law.

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