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Police Clearance Rates and How Shoplifting Can Influence the Numbers

A man hiding a candy bar in his sweater because he is shoplifting, representing how one can benefit from calling a Maine criminal defense lawyer.

A general overview of the crime statistics in Maine paints an interesting picture of law enforcement throughout the state. A key takeaway of those statistics, though, is that shoplifting is especially likely to end in an arrest and prosecution. The reason is simple: police have help from store owners who are actively motivated in pursuing and deterring shoplifters.

Report Looks at Criminal Clearance Rates in Maine

A recent article in The Ellsworth American looked at a report released in October 2018 by Maine’s Department of Public Safety. That report analyzed crimes in Maine that occurred during 2017.

The Ellsworth American’s article focused on clearance rates in Maine – the percentage of crimes that police identify, arrest, and have enough evidence to charge a suspect for the offense.

While the overall clearance rate in Maine was 36% in 2017, and the national average clearance rate was 23%, the newspaper touted Hancock County’s impressive 60% clearance rate.

However, there are plenty of reasons to be less than astounded at Hancock County’s policing. Chief among them are the types of crimes that its police and prosecutors have cleared. Some crimes, like assault, are difficult to solve and close because they happen so quickly and often have few reliable witnesses.

Others, like shoplifting, are far easier to move from the pending pile into the list of cases that have been cleared.

Shoplifting Cases are Easier to Solve Because Shop Owners Actively Assist

Ellsworth Police Department Chief Glenn Moshier openly admitted that Ellsworth and Hancock County tend to see more shoplifting cases than other counties in Maine. These shoplifting cases are far easier to resolve because store owners have taken security into their own hands and routinely assist police conduct investigations.

The familiarity that store owners tend to have with local law enforcement and detectives can push them towards the top of the list when they report a theft or a suspected shoplifting incident. The evidence that their video surveillance equipment often gets can drastically increase the odds that police can make an arrest and clear the case.

Those surveillance cameras are often professionally placed in areas that see where shoplifting happens inside the store. Their placement is often designed so one camera sees someone take merchandise while another camera focuses on getting a good facial image of everyone entering and leaving the store.

In the end, shoplifting cases are far more easy for police to clear because store owners can often hand over all the evidence that an in-depth investigation may have uncovered.

Criminal Defense Lawyers at MCD Group Represent Those Accused of Shoplifting

The criminal defense lawyers at MCD Group represent people in southern Maine who have been accused of shoplifting. While store owners take numerous measures to protect their merchandise and deter shoplifting, they often make mistakes. If you are wrongfully accused of taking things from a store without paying for them, it can take the help of a criminal defense lawyer to prove your innocence. Equally important is the idea of mitigation and justice. In many cases, the MCD Group team can help reduce or eliminate shoplifting charges, even when you’ve been caught red-handed.

If you have been charged with shoplifting in Portland, Saco, Biddeford, or elsewhere throughout the region, reach out to MCD Group by calling our law office at (207) 571-8146 or by contacting us online.


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Great group of people. Managed to get me a favorable outcome from a very bad situation. I would highly recommend this firm if you have legal troubles. Top notch performance!!

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So thankful I chose this team to represent me. They’re the best, hands down. Nathan Hitchcock proved my innocence not once but TWICE, including a trial by jury. I have a family in law enforcement who told me “Bill Bly and his team are the best. If I would recommend anyone, it would be them.”

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