Cambridge Sees Dip in Crime Rates in 2011

The Cambridge Police Department reported on Wednesday that crime in Cambridge has reached a historic low. According to the report, the Department responded to 3,567 serious crimes in 2011—the lowest registered number of incidents since 1963 and a 1.3 percent decrease from 2010.

CPD spokesperson Daniel M. Riviello said that the police department’s increased transparency contributed to lowering crime rates.

“We do not just tell the community what the police are doing to combat these trends, but also provide them with tips and information on what they can do to protect themselves and their property from becoming a victim of crime,” he said.

Cambridge Police Commissioner Robert C. Haas also attributed the dip in crime rates to the efforts of his police force.

"The men and women of the Cambridge Police Department are extremely professional and hardworking, and it is their daily efforts which have had such a positive effect on crime," Haas said in a statement. "These efforts, coupled with our strong community partnerships and commitment to allocate our resources based on data and analysis, are what have succeeded in making Cambridge a safer and more welcoming place."

The report showed that serious crime has decreased by 68 percent since 1974. Serious crime tallies are measured in accordance with classifications set by the Federal Bureau of Investigations’ Uniform Crime Reporting Program, according to the report. Under FBI guidelines, "serious crime" indicates the number of committed “index crimes,” which include homicide, rape, larceny, burglary, and aggravated assault. Serious crime is further divided into violent crimes and property crimes.

According to the release, Cambridge registered 436 violent crimes and 3,309 property crimes in 2011.

Of violent crimes, street robbery in Cambridge declined by the widest margin. The CPD reported 113 street robberies in 2011, 20 percent less than the number committed in 2010 and the fewest robberies registered in the past 50 years.

Though the city saw a decrease in street robberies, the number of registered murders and commercial robberies increased in 2011.

The Cambridge Police Department recorded five homicides last year, but no homicides were reported in 2010. The CPD said that despite this spike in the city’s homicide rate it closes 82 percent of such cases, which is higher than the 65 percent national rate.

Commercial robberies increased by 55 percent in the last year.

“While burglary did increase in 2011, this increase must be tempered by the fact that both 2009 and 2010 saw near record lows for this crime type, and 2011 levels were settling back toward the average number of those types of crimes we historically see in Cambridge,” said Riviello.

—Staff writer Julia K. Dean can be reached at juliadean@college.harvard.edu.

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