This City Has Been Named the Murder Capital of Maine

Maine is renowned for its picturesque landscapes, delectable seafood, and amiable locals. However, it harbors a darker aspect: murder. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, four cities in Maine reported murders in 2023, designating them as the state’s murder capitals. The surprising revelation lies in identifying the city with the highest murder rate per capita.

Old Town: Maine’s Most Perilous City

Old Town, a small city of 7,362 residents situated in Penobscot County near the University of Maine, boasts a history steeped in Native American culture, lumber industry, and paper mills. Alongside its rich heritage, Old Town has gained notoriety for violence and crime. In 2023, the city reported one murder, yielding a murder rate of 13.6 per 100,000 people—nearly seven times higher than the national average. This alarming statistic crowns Old Town as Maine’s most dangerous city and one of the country’s riskiest.

The lone murder in Old Town in 2023 unfolded as a domestic violence incident, involving a man fatally stabbing his girlfriend in their apartment. The suspect faced arrest and murder charges, leaving the victim’s family and friends shocked and sorrowful, expressing their grief on social media.

Old Town’s elevated murder rate is not novel. In 2019, the city recorded one murder, resulting in a murder rate of 13.8 per 100,000 people. That year, the incident involved a drug-related shooting, where a man fell victim to a rival dealer’s attack. The perpetrator was apprehended and charged with murder.

Acknowledging Old Town’s crime issue, Police Chief Scott Wilcox pledged to address it. Measures include heightened patrols, community policing initiatives, collaborations with local organizations for prevention and intervention programs, and urging the public to report suspicious activity and cooperate with law enforcement.

York: Maine’s Second Most Hazardous City

York, a coastal town of 13,413 residents in York County, positioned near the New Hampshire border, is celebrated for its beaches, historic sites, and wildlife. Nevertheless, it harbors a concealed dark side: murder. In 2023, York reported one murder, resulting in a murder rate of 7.5 per 100,000 people, earning it the title of Maine’s second most dangerous city and one of the nation’s perilous ones.

The murder in York in 2023 transpired as a random act of violence, with a man fatally stabbed by a stranger in a parking lot. The suspect was arrested and charged with murder. The motive remained unclear, leaving the victim’s family and friends devastated.

Notably, York’s high murder rate is atypical. In 2019, the town recorded no murders, boasting a murder rate of zero per 100,000 people. York was then ranked among the safest cities in Maine and the country.

Expressing shock and dismay at York’s murder rate, Police Chief Charles Szeniawski assured the public that it was an isolated incident. He emphasized York’s continued status as a safe and welcoming place, with law enforcement diligently working to prevent and solve crimes.

Other Maine Cities with Murders

The other two cities reporting murders in Maine in 2023 were Augusta and Biddeford, each with one murder. Augusta, the state capital and Maine’s third-largest city with 18,713 residents, and Biddeford, a city of 21,523 people in York County, known for its textile industry and Franco-American heritage, both registered murder rates below 5 per 100,000 people, falling below the national average.

The unrelated murders in Augusta and Biddeford in 2023 involved a fatal roommate dispute shooting and a woman strangled by her boyfriend, respectively. Perpetrators in both cases were arrested and charged with murder.

Both Augusta and Biddeford experienced fluctuations in their murder rates over the years. In 2019, Augusta reported no murders, while Biddeford had one. In 2018, Augusta had one murder, while Biddeford had two. Both cities implemented diverse strategies to combat crime, including increased police presence, enhanced community engagement, and the provision of social services.


While Maine is generally perceived as a safe and serene state, it grapples with the issue of murder. In 2023, Old Town and York emerged as the cities with the highest murder rates per capita among the four reporting murders. These cities faced challenges such as domestic violence, drug trafficking, and mental health issues, potentially contributing to the elevated violence. However, their resilience and determination to enhance safety and quality of life are evident. Collaborative efforts between law enforcement and the community to prevent and solve crimes showcase Maine’s capacity for addressing challenges and supporting victims and their families. Despite having its murder capitals, Maine also boasts its heroes.


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