LEWISTON – It’s good news. In a national study, Lewiston-Auburn has once more placed in the top 10 percent of the nation’s safest cities.

It’s also dubious news. Again, the Twin Cities were listed a few steps beneath Portland and Bangor areas, which were deemed safer still.

The yearly survey is done after considerable number crunching by Morgan Quitno Press. This year, MQ ranked Lewiston-Auburn 22nd out of a group of 333 metropolitan areas around the country. The Portland area was ranked 19th, the Bangor area, 4th.

As it has in recent years, the Morgan Quitno numbers rankle the local police chiefs. Uniform Crime Reporting statistics show Lewiston and Auburn with lower crime rates in recent years than both Portland and Bangor. Yet the Twin Cities don’t rank as well when the entire community is taken into consideration, as is the manner in which Morgan Quitno conducts its analysis.

“There are several different ways to look at it,” said Lewiston police Chief William Welch. “If it was Bangor versus Portland versus Lewiston, it would be different.”

Part of the reason the Portland and Bangor areas look better in the MQ survey is that those areas tend to not have surrounding towns with high crime rates.

In Lewiston-Auburn, the Androscoggin County community is factored in and that tends to push the numbers up.

“They throw us in with the metropolitan area,” said Auburn police Chief Phil Crowell. “It makes the numbers very hard to compare.”

In fact, if Auburn was assessed solely on its own crime statistics, Crowell said, it has among the lowest crime rates in the state.

Police pay closer attention to the yearly Uniform Crime Reporting, based on FBI stats that area released each year. They take MQ’s numbers with a grain of salt.

“I could go on the Internet and find another 10 groups like Morgan,” Crowell said. “They all use different criteria and they are not consistent.”

Morgan Quitno Press is an independent private research and publishing company located in Lawrence, Kansas.

The chiefs said they are disappointed that the Twin Cities area was ranked as less safe than those of Bangor and Portland. Ultimately though, ending up at 22 out of 333 metropolitan areas isn’t bad at all.

“It’s obviously a great place to live,” Welch said.


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