Homicide rate rising in Washington County

Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 6:10 PM EDT
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MACHIAS, Maine (WABI) - Frustrating. That’s just one of the words Washington County Sheriff Barry Curtis used in describing the rise in homicides there.

There have been six homicides in Washington County since November, 10 since the start of 2020.

Curtis says the rise in homicide rates there is directly related to the county’s drug problem, where dealers can get a higher price for their product while being relatively left alone.

You’re seeing more of it coming in from New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire. And, you know, they bring it in here and live in homes and then peddle it out of the homes, have the people peddle it for them. It’s hard to combat this because a lot of times nobody’s saying anything because they’re afraid,” said Curtis.

Curtis says while it’s easy to identify the problems that lead to homicide here in Washington County, what’s not easy is finding solutions to those problems.

“I wish I knew, you know? I’m doing everything I can to get people to help us. We’re really kind of the end of the state of Maine, bumping up against Canada. And, you know, money doesn’t seem to make it all the way up here to help us right now. We’re having a little problem with the State Police kind of rolling back some of what they’re doing, and then it puts the burden on all of us. I’m trying to increase my manpower, but that’s a burden on the taxpayers. The jails are a burden on the taxpayers. One of the things that I complain a lot about, is that I think we should have a lot more counselors up here to help people maybe to get off some of these things,” said Curtis.

Curtis says the Sheriff’s Office is doing the best it can with the resources it has available and will continue to do so.

“We’re solving some things, but as soon as we solve one, we get five more,” said Curtis.

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