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.
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:
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.