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I’m pleased to tell you that crime in Maine has decreased in 2013 by nearly 10 percent. It’s the largest drop in 20 years.

Hello. This is Governor Paul LePage.

Maine continues to be one of the safest states in the country. We can all be proud of that.

All but one crime category – aggravated assaults – showed decreases.

Protecting the public’s safety is one of the greatest responsibilities of government.

Police officers make a promise to protect and serve, and they put themselves in harm’s way every day. They also take a proactive approach to preventing crime. Police officers partner with people and organizations in their communities to educate the public and provide resources to help prevent crime. Local and state law enforcement officers deserve to be recognized for their work, and I thank you.

Of all crime categories, arson and robbery showed the largest decreases. Arson declined by 38 percent. The number of robberies went down by 20 percent.

I’m also pleased to announce that domestic violence assaults dropped by almost 2 percent. More people are talking about this abuse, and it is starting to become socially unacceptable behavior.

I credit greater coordination between law enforcement, the courts, prosecutors and victims’ advocates for the decrease in domestic violence assaults.

However, along with this good news, we still have some issues to address. There are some disturbing trends we cannot ignore. The first five months of this year show a significant increase in drug activity. We are seeing an influx of out-of-state drug traffickers setting up shop here in Maine. These drug crimes are perpetrated by ruthless street gangs with lengthy criminal histories linked to drugs and sex trafficking.

This month, the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency broke up two meth labs. On June 5, MDEA investigators dismantled a meth lab in Ellsworth. The agency also broke up a meth lab in Newfield on June 3. This brings the number of meth labs raided this year to 14, compared to 20 for all of 2013.

This spike in drug crime highlights the importance of my drug bill, which liberal lawmakers rejected. Liberal politicians minimize the impact drug dealers have on society. But even their Democratic Attorney General had to admit Maine’s drug addiction and drug trafficking problem is a “public health crisis.”

For those addicted, my administration is focusing on effective and efficient treatment and recovery programs. In 2013, the State spent $9 million dollars on substance abuse prevention and treatment, compared to just $7 million in 2010.

We cannot eliminate addiction or crime completely. But we can provide resources to prevent abuse and to fight the war on drugs. These much-needed resources will help our law enforcement officers hunt down drug dealers on our streets and make our communities safer.

Ask your legislators to take action now. Tell them to come back and pass my bill. Communities and families are depending on us to make your safety our priority.

Thank you.

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