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Amid uptick in Portland crime, tourists and residents still feel safe

Portland police are investigating a shooting that occurred early Saturday morning on Fore Street.

PORTLAND, Maine — While Portland has seen an uptick in violent crimes this year, many residents and tourists said they are not phased by the increase.

"You've got to be careful wherever you go, but like I said, I wouldn't bring my granddaughter down here if I didn't feel safe in the city of Portland," North Yarmouth resident Nelson Parise, who was visiting the Old Port area with his granddaughter on Monday, said.

"I feel really safe, for the most part," Parise said. 

Portland police are currently investigating a shooting that happened in the Old Port area over the weekend. According to police, officers were walking around when they noticed a disturbance on Fore Street near Moulton Street early Saturday morning. When they started to walk toward the group, they heard a gunshot and saw people running from the area. Police said nobody was injured.

RELATED: Portland police investigating after Old Port shooting

Saturday's shooting took place in the area where another shooting occurred that injured two people in September.

RELATED: Man arrested in Portland shooting that left two seriously hurt

In early September, the Portland Police Department held a press conference to discuss the recent uptick in crime. At that time, Portland police stated they've responded to 42 shooting incidents so far in 2022, which was double the number seen in 2021. 

Since that press conference, there have been at least four other shooting incidents in the city.

"A bit more cautious but definitely not fearful of doing what I normally do," Andrew Sullivan, who spends his summers in Portland, said. 

However, despite the recent uptick in crime, data points to Portland still being a safe city.

According to the FBI Crime Data Explorer, which was recently updated with 2021 crime statistics, there were 152 violent crimes reported in Portland last year. 

The same data set shows that in 2020, the national average for violent crimes per 100,000 people was 398.5. If you adjust Portland's violent crime rate per 100,000 people, it rises to 223.5, however, it is still 175 violent crimes fewer than the 2020 national average.

"No worries at all. I've been here the last couple of weekends and haven't had any instances of feeling threatened," Darragh Hefferman said, who just moved to Portland last month. "It's a small-town feel. It doesn't feel like there's any sort of gang culture or violence going on."

The website WalletHub recently analyzed crime data from the FBI along with other safety statistics. It found Portland to be the fourth safest city in the entire country.

"St. Louis crime has really gone up lately. And we've been in the news, probably one of the most unsafe cities which is unfortunate because it's a great city. But here, we've walked all over the place and felt great," Shelly Lee said, who is visiting Portland from St. Louis, Missouri. 

According to the same WalletHub report, St. Louis is ranked the least safe city in the country.

"The area feels very safe," Lee added.

Portland police were unavailable to provide comment on recent crime trends on Monday. Police said there is no update on the investigation into Saturday's shooting. 

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