City Releases Neighborhood Crime Analysis

News Analysis

Although the crime rate has dropped in the city. Harvard police report that seven types of crime rose in 1992.

Cambridge crimes have dropped overall by eight percent, with dramatic drops in every major category of crime, according to statistics released by the Cambridge Police Department. But for 1992, Harvard police reported a rise in seven of 24 crime categories, including sexual assaults and armed robberies.

Differences in policing style account for the discrepancy in the crime statistics, according to both Harvard Police Chief Paul E. Johnson and Cambridge Police spokesperson Detective Frank Pasquarello.

But while Cambridge police have started an intense campaign in response to recent community violence, it's business as usual for the Harvard police.

Cambridge police superintendents attribute the city-wide decline to the hard work of its officers and a new slate of community-based patrolling initiatives aimed at getting officers out of their cars and onto the street.

Programs like Cambridge police's "park and walk" initiative, specifically aimed at increasing interaction between officers and residents, have contributed to the decrease in city crime, according to Pasquarello.


But Harvard Police presence in the square did not change after the shooting in the square earlier this month, according to Lt John L. Rooney of the Harvard police Cambridge Police Superintendent Walter L. Boyle reported that the Cambridge police boosted patrols in that area after the incident.

Harvard Police Chief Paul L. Johnson said yesterday while a tie in should exist between Harvard and Cambridge crime figures, discrepancies in crime levels may be due to different styles of policing.

"The statistics fluctuated up and down, that's normal," Johnson said yesterday. Harvard "is a different community" than Cambridge, he said.

Harvard police officials also maintain that the decrease in Cambridge crime evidences the positive contribution of their presence on the street as well.

The stabbing of a Boston University Law School student in the Harvard Square "pit" and the murder of an MIT student on Memorial Drive this year prompted Cambridge police officers and officials in the District Attorney's office to increase community based policing and undertake several new patrolling strategies.

Harvard has attempted to stem the increasing violence in the Square with its anti crime task force which patrols on weekends, according to Rooney. With only three members, the task force made one arrest in the Square shooting.

Despite the attention generated by a few high-profile incidents, Harvard police reported that Crime fell in 14 of 21 categories in 1992, including a 37 percent drop in assaults.

Harvard's seven robberies last year accounted for half of the 14 robberies in the mid-Cambridge neighborhood district, the area of the city including Harvard Yard, bordered by Massachusetts Avenue to the South.

Elie G. Kaunfer contributed to the reporting of this story.