Sunday, May 3, 2009

Crime in Cambridge

As I continue to search for off-campus housing, I queried the Cambridge Police Department (CPD) for some crime statistics; I was quite surprised. This may be the case of simply seeing what has always been around you, but I found the crime rates to be rather high for my standards. I'm not primarily concerned about somebody trying to hurt me personally, but I am concerned about car break-ins, car thefts, and home break-ins while I'm not home. So those are the statistics I focused on. The CPD has pretty good statistical analysis of city crimes and I suggest you look on their web site to learn more about your particular interests.

First, let's start by defining the different neighborhoods in Cambridge:

Most off-campus students live in Riverside, Mid-Cambridge, and Cambridgeport, roughly in that order. The police web site has multi-page reports detailing each particular neighborhood, so refer to it for more details. For now, let's just look at general trends.

Although detailed, the CPD crime analysis is 2 years behind. So for now the best we can do is look at the 2007 annual reports.


Auto thefts:

One of the most common crimes in Cambridge is GPS thefts. In 2007 there were 779 reported cases. That's over 2 GPS thefts a day, 365 days a year. Personally, the main hassle of a GPS theft is not just the loss of the GPS, but getting your window smashed and the time associated with dealing with the crime, the insurance company, and repairig the vehicle and the mess they leave behind. Most of us are pretty GPS savvy and remove the GPS from the windshield when we park our car in questionable places. However, the thieves are also pretty savvy. From what everybody told me, if they just see a power cable in the car, a suction cup, or even suction cup marks on the windshield, then the thieves will assume you have the device somewhere in your car and will break in (if your car is targeted). There are solutions around these problems, but the point is, if you love your car, off-street parking is a major consideration.

So all the above was 2007 data. I searched for 2008 data and the CPD have data from the first 3 quarters posted (see below). You can study the numbers for yourself, but a snapshot summary of crimes per day in 2008 show:
  • Over 1 residential burglary per day
  • Over 2 thefts per day from a car
  • About 2 car thefts every 3 days
Violent crime appears to be relatively low for the population size, and it's also something I feel I have some control over in my behavior and actions. However, when somebody breaks into my house or car and I'm not around, is when I have much less control, which is why I focused on those statistics. I didn't get the impression that Cambridge is a particularly dangerous place by any means, but having situational awareness of the the crime rate and types of crime is important. The rest of the statistics are below.

No comments:

Post a Comment