The Mark Cayer Community Safety Plan for the City of Lewiston, Maine

  • Accountability
  • Enforcement
  • Education & Outreach

Lewiston is one of the safest small urban areas in New England. Of course, we can do better. The crime statistics that reflect favorably on our community don’t always tell the whole story.

As mayor, our safety will always be a top priority. My campaign is about economic prosperity, which can only happen if investors and entrepreneurs know that Lewiston is a safe place to do business. While we are all justifiably concerned about drug and human trafficking and the recent assaults, shootings and troubling juvenile behaviors. Let’s remember that the vast majority of our community are hard working law abiding citizens. 

With 20 years as a law enforcement officer, I am the only mayoral candidate with the experience to provide leadership and support to our police department. My plan combines enforcement to address crime, proactive steps to discourage inappropriate behavior, and better access to programs that prevents crime. 

Accountability

The mayor, city council, law enforcement, and residents alike must be willing to hold ourselves accountable. Proactively, we must identify behaviors when they start and respond appropriately using enforcement and a “community solutions” approach. It’s time we begin having these sometimes tough discussions. Let us not forget that if we do not find ways to increase pride in our community, we will not have lasting change. When longtime residents and newcomers feel welcomed and are provided the needed tools through community partners to better themselves through treatment, education and equity we can all move forward, and our challenges will be replaced with a community filled with pride.  

“Being accountable and a community that provides the tools for success to our residents should never be seen as a sign of weakness. When enforcement is needed we must respond quickly and fairly to address crime in our community” — Mark Cayer

Enforcement

Addressing crime isn’t easy, but with limited resources we must find comprehensive and enduring solutions. We need to set an effective tone, and our community’s expectations of allowable behavior needs to be enforced which will ultimately reduce the numbers of violent and drug crimes occurring in our city.

Identifying Behaviors that will make our community inviting to our residents and future investors:

  • Enforce curfew violations – unsupervised youth can easily find themselves in a situation where they “for fun” commit crimes like mischief and worse can be easily exploited by preying adults. Our youth and their families must be engaged and aware because not doing so can lead our kids down a dangerous path.
  • Enforce public drinking and drug use – there is an overabundance of drinking taking place within our parks and on our streets. This behavior alone deters people from taking advantage of our public parks. Children and families should be able to play freely without having to see visibly intoxicated people passed out or empty beer cans littering our green play spaces.
  • Enforce littering & trash violations – city image and pride is a detriment to crime. Too many of our streets are dirty, and as long as they continue to be we will only see more trash which will keep outside investors away.
  • Enforce loitering – business store fronts and sidewalks have to be freely accessible and useable. I have spoken with too many residents who are afraid to leave their home because they can’t freely walk down the street or easily enter a store because there are groups of people blocking these passageways and entrances. This affects commerce and makes it challenging for our local businesses.
  • Expand the efforts to identify those youth and adults who are generating the most police calls for service and begin working with parents and our many service providers who can provide the supports needed to reduce their involvement with law enforcement and improve their quality of life. Project Support You is a perfect example of a program that follows up mental health and overdose calls for service. This program could be expanded to help address concerning behaviors as well. This will free up officers availability to address more serious crimes of drug and human trafficking that prey upon our most vulnerable.
  • Enhance efforts with both Federal and State prosecutors to identify, target, arrest and prosecute those traffickers who have exploited our city for far too long. This will clean up our streets and make it safer for our families who live here.

As Mayor, I will advocate for the city to:

  • Use already available funds and finding more federal dollars. We must expand the number of officers and support staff at our police department so that officers are able to spend more time on the streets and less time in the station doing administrative tasks.
  • Bring back targeted enforcement that is sustainable and not reliant on a short grant programs. We must provide our police department with the tools and community support to rid our city of out of state drug dealers who move to Lewiston to spread the poison of illicit drugs. We must address through enhanced enforcement human trafficking and crimes of violence against our citizens and most importantly we must have a Mayor willing to work with our local District Attorney’s Office and the Maine Attorney General’s Office. My experience in law enforcement and the many working relationships I have developed over the years will be the most important asset in accomplishing this.
  • Support efforts to educate our community on public drinking laws, curfew laws, littering laws and loitering ordinances.
  • Increase efforts to educate on drug usage signs and awareness and on parenting roles, responsibilities and rights.
  • Enhance Project Support You and advocate for funding from outside of the city budget to add case workers that will support our police officers by increasing the coverage of the current program so we are connecting people in need with the right resources right away.
  • Work to increase the number of green spaces  within our community that will provide more safe places to youth to play.
  • Increase our Recreation Programing to provide more safe and supervised activities for our youth.

Education & Outreach

In order to create lasting change, we need to invest in educating our community on the resources available to them.  Also, we need to focus on being preventative which means we need to better utilize the programs we currently have and expand our efforts to new areas. We must work with the Lewiston Public Schools because they see some of the same behavior challenges in our schools every day.

As Mayor, I will work with our Police Chief to provide the department the needed support and tools to:

  • Expand efforts to work with property and business owners to make sure buildings are appropriately posted so enforcement action can easily be taken when necessary.
  • Develop easily accessible educational information on signs of drug use and awareness and most importantly parenting roles, responsibilities and rights.
  • Expand education and information on drinking in public laws and curfew, littering and loitering ordinances.
  • Increase community relationship building efforts so the department is always plugged into what is happening throughout the city.

Access to services, the city will:

  • Work closely with Lewiston Public Schools so that a consistent message of expectations is being given to youth and parents.
  • Work with our service providers to make sure we have a current inventory and understanding of what is available and how to access these resources.
  • Promote these resources through the city’s website so community members only have to go to one place to find assistance.

Lewiston is one of the safest communities in New England. But, let us not use this as an excuse for inaction. First we need to acknowledge our barriers. Then we must address those barriers.