No Murders Occur in Cambridge in 2010

The Cambridge Police Department reported that last year saw no murders in the city, just the fourth time in the past 50 years that no murders have occurred in Cambridge.

Serious crime increased by 1 percent in 2010, but that slight rise comes on the heels of a 40-year low in serious crime in 2009, according to department statistics.

The 3,614 serious crimes in 2010 was the second lowest number in Cambridge since 1970.

But the past year also saw a 15 percent increase in the number of reported rapes.

“2010 was slightly up, and there was a different mixed bag of crime, but we were very excited to see no murders,” said Daniel M. Riviello, a spokesperson for Cambridge police. “It’s something that’s very dramatic and people really focus on.”


Other years without a homicide include 1985, 2004, and 2007. Between 1960 and 1989, Cambridge averaged less than five murders per year, and since 1990 the annual average for the city has fallen to two murders per year, according to Cambridge police.

Cities with comparable populations average 10 murders per year, according to department statistics.

“It’s a sign of how seriously we take crime as a city,” said Cambridge City Councillor Leland Cheung.

Since July 2010, Cambridge police has utilized a crime tracking program known as BridgeStat, which is a monthly report that includes data on crime, traffic incidents, and other disturbances.

According to Riviello, the department has used this report to more effectively deploy its resources, a change that he said contributed to the lack of murders in the city last year.

“The department is very sophisticated in tracking crime patterns and anticipating criminal activity before it even occurs,” Cheung said. “They have deployed officers accordingly.”

Police officials meet monthly to identify crime patterns and compile the data, which includes information on historical trends and breakdown by different crimes.

The report is issued to the public on the first Friday of every month.

“We want the public to know what the officers are doing and give them tips on how they can protect themselves from being victims of crime,” Riviello said.

BridgeStat is similar to the CitiStat programs used in New York City, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago, and Baltimore to track performance in city government using extensive data.

—Staff writer Kerry M. Flynn can be reached at


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