Cops aim to keep kids out of crime

LEWISTON — Children who grow up in poverty are more likely to be involved in crime, a group calling for  anti-poverty legislation said Thursday.

Invest in kids press conference at LPD
Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Androscoggin County Sheriff Guy Desjardins, second from right, talks about second-generation repeat offenders he often sees at the jail. Looking on is Deputy Chief James Minkowsky of the Lewiston Police Department, left, Kim Gore, New England director of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids and Chief Phil Crowell of the Auburn Police Department, right.

Kid crime
Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Kim Gore, New England director of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, speaks during a news conference in Lewiston on Thursday.

And the Twin Cities have the highest rates in the state for children in poverty: Lewiston at 42 percent; Auburn at 27 percent.

At a joint news conference at the Lewiston police station, law enforcement officials teamed up with the regional director of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids to call for extending federal child tax credits, available to low-income families. The tax credits are due to expire at the end of the year.

As many as 60,000 Maine children could be affected if the legislation isn't passed, the speakers said.

New research shows that raising children out of poverty reduces the crime rate, said Kim Gore, New England director of the group.

“Our mission is to prevent crime and violence across the United States by making wise investments in programs that keep kids safe and give kids the right start in life,” she said.

Waiting until a child is arrested is too late, she said.

“Research shows that when you increase the income for low-income families, it substantially reduces those difficult youth behaviors that are often the precursors to later crime,” she said. “The child tax credit lets low-income working families keep more of their tax dollars, raises their standard of living and it reduces the probability that the children might be involved in crime later on.”

Deputy Chief James Minkowsky of the Lewiston Police Department said most children who grow up poor don't go on to lead lives of crime. But they run a greater risk of becoming adult criminals, he said.

Androscoggin County Sheriff Guy Desjardins said at least one in six children in Maine is living in poverty, placing them at “substantial” risk.

From October 2008 to May 2010, the state's unemployment rate has climbed from 5.9 percent to 8 percent.

Children in families whose income has climbed above the poverty level experience a 40 percent decrease in conduct disorders and opposition defiance disorders, according to a study, Desjardins said.

Those behavior disorders are “closely linked” to juvenile crime, he said.

Auburn Police Chief Phil Crowell said the county's jail population tells the same story: The demographics support the notion that children from poor families are more likely to end up in the criminal justice system.

Pulling children out of poverty not only benefits those children but society as a whole, he said.

For every $1 spent on early childhood education, there is a return of $18 million in savings from avoiding incarceration, Crowell said.

The nonprofit group includes 120 Maine members, including every sheriff and prosecutor as well as about 90 police chiefs and survivors of violent crimes.

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 's picture

Bottom line. Get to work. I

Bottom line. Get to work. I know times are tough and it's a tough economy. There is something you can do out there! Even if it's raking, mowing or just odd jobs. Stop waiting to "hear" about this job or that one...none of these are going to come knocking on your door! People act as though they are above working at Burger King or at a 7-11. None of us are. Some money is better than no money.

 's picture

Bottom line. Get to work. I

Bottom line. Get to work. I know times are tough and it's a tough economy. There is something you can do out there! Even if it's raking, mowing or just odd jobs. Stop waiting to "hear" about this job or that one...none of these are going to come knocking on your door! People act as though they are above working at Burger King or at a 7-11. None of us are. Some money is better than no money.

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Give a man a fish...

There is a Chinese proverb that says; "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

You don't pull people out of poverty by takning from the "rich" and giving to the "Poor." All that will do is create more poverty. The other fallacy is that education alone is the answer; "If you want to make something of yourself, you need a college education." That is simply just not true.

Help kids find something they are good at and like to do, and help them find (or create) jobs that utilize those skills and watch them excel. Some of the greatest entrepreneurs this country has ever known began their lives in abject poverty.

John Chick
Monmouth, ME

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." --Thomas Jefferson to Charles Yancey, 1816. ME 14:384

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actually the real quote is

actually the real quote is teach a man to fish and you lose a democrat voter.

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And in Lewiston, if you give

And in Lewiston, if you give a man a fish, he nails it to a wall. And invites his friends over for a beer and pot party to show the fish off. In time the fish stinks really bad and the guy and his family are still hungry.

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f you’re poor (just another term for lazy, irresponsible, ignora

if you’re poor (just another term for lazy, irresponsible, ignorant)

Take a look at this cite, one of many thousands on the question:

A short part of what's on that site"

Few questions have generated as much discussion across time as that of the causes of human impoverishment. The sources and origins of poverty have been debated for centuries. As the historian R. M. Hartwell notes, "The causes of poverty, its relief and cure, have been a matter of serious concern to theologians, statesmen, civil servants, intellectuals, tax-payers and humanitarians since the Middle Ages" (1986: 16). The question of causality has found itself at the heart of most debates surrounding poverty and the poor.

In recent times these debates have often been divided into two ideological camps. On one hand, poverty has been viewed as the result of individual failings. From this perspective, specific attributes of the impoverished individual have brought about their poverty. These include a wide set of characteristics, ranging from the lack of an industrious work ethic or virtuous morality, to low levels of education or competitive labor market skills. On the other hand, poverty has periodically been interpreted as the result of failings at the structural level, such as the inability of the economy to produce enough decent paying jobs.

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I don't know what the answer is,

but I do agree that we should be focusing on providing a better elementary education for our children. Continuing to cut the budget of our education system is adding to the problem! Put the money where it will do the most good. Large classes are ineffective and make it impossible for our wonderful teachers to do their jobs...I have seen way too many behavior problems and impossible-to-manage classrooms since I started working in the Lewiston elementary school system. I find it appalling that ALL children are falling through the cracks because the schools just have to make it through the day (oh, and make sure their classes pass the mandated tests - but that's another story.) If teachers had the time and resources allowing them to connect better with their students, ALL children would have a better chance of avoiding the problems associated with low incomes. Low incomes affect all of our children, not just those who are in fact, lower income.

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where the money goes

My entire family grew up poor, in the days when no one cared. Not one parent, uncle or aunt has been to jail or arrested. What they did become was hard workers and responsible adults!

How about if you’re poor (just another term for lazy, irresponsible, ignorant) and don't have the money to raise a child...... DONT HAVE ONE!!! people who are living in poverty for ligitmate reasons have more sense then to have 5 kids!

A lot of these poor children are not even from here. They come from outside of the state with their folks looking for a free meal ticket.

And when the parents do get some cash for their child (that’s already being paid for by the state). How does anyone even know where the money is spent? Beer, cigarettes, drugs, snacks and soda.

We all feel sorry for the “children”. But all you are doing is enabling their parents!

Take the money and either give it back to the tax payers! or spend it on those programs you said actually help the children!


yeah so take it from the

yeah so take it from the working stiffs better yet lets make them work till they drop dead on the job!!! The working people must unite stop being treated as a syphon for those who choose to sit home on thier duffs or who are nothing but leeaches working supposedly for us while pulling the highest wages and benefits in Maine! getting squeezed like a pimple but son the pimple will pop!!

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 's picture


As a kid in Lewiston Maine I had a lot of fun . The Cop's stopped us and just ask what we were doing . AND ?? You always saw cop's around doing there job . History 1st this was 50 something years ago . Thing in Lewiston and Auburn was a lot different > and yes my Family was the so call on poverty . It's just that the COP'S and not doing there job because there are to many thing going on with the CITY . GANGS the big KID'S .... AND all the other thing going around .. COP'S were in the school's you saw them walking the STREETS down town LEWISTON ( DOWN TOWN ) .. The good old day's and maybe ad the good old boy's ????

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I one thing to ask . With the state so poor where in the hell is it coming from (the $$$$)


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