Augusta’s surge in crime stems from drugs, police say

Posted Dec. 19, 2011, at 9:57 a.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Augusta officials are blaming a surge in burglaries and motor vehicle thefts to prescription drug abuse.

Chief Robert Gregoire says Augusta police have responded to 605 thefts, 399 motor vehicle burglaries and 248 burglaries of homes and businesses this year.

Home burglaries and motor vehicle burglaries, in particular, have jumped recently.

Gregoire tells the Kennebec Journal that the poor economy has something to do with it, but “drug abuse has been the most significant issue.”

Mayor William Stokes says drug abusers will do anything to get money to buy pills. He says the problem is hardly unique to Augusta.

They both say citizens can thwart crime by locking car and home doors, keeping valuables out of sight and reporting suspicious activity.