Major crime is down by 17% in Cambridge

Submitted to Dorchester Banner/CPD
The Cambridge Police Department has reported a significant drop in major crimes in 2020.

CAMBRIDGE — Even in the midst of a difficult situation for all — the COVID-19 shutdown and quarantine — there can be some good news.

“I got data on our major crimes (we call them Part 1 crimes) for the year so far and found that they are down approximately 17 percent, which is really good,” Capt. Justin Todd of the Cambridge Police Department (CPD) said. “Major crimes include murder, rape, robbery, theft, burglary, etc.”
Though there have been relatively minor incidents such as cars being broken into, “We haven’t had anything major yet,” he said.

One new kind of violation has appeared. Crowds have sometimes refused to disperse in accordance with Governor Larry Hogan’s executive order to slow the spread of COVID-19.
This has happened on the street and in businesses. “If we observe anything, we warn them, and that usually takes care of it,” Capt. Todd said.
So far, since the executive order, 34 individuals have been charged with violating the order. Many also ended up with charges of resisting arrest and creating a public disturbance.
“They were warned,” Capt. Todd said.
Budget considerations
The mayor and members of the city council are putting together their budget numbers for the next fiscal year, something that has also occupied senior officers in the CPD. They have been working with the council, Capt. Todd said, but it hasn’t been business as normal concerning police work.
The pandemic has resulted in strains all around, including the department. Officers have been split into two 12-hour shifts, as a way to minimize the risk of infecting each other, and that, with other virus-related issues, has scrambled the usual calculations.

It isn’t all a question of higher expenses, either. For instance, DARE classes aren’t being held, because schools are closed, and public events that required police coverage are postponed or canceled. So a new mystery is created for officers to solve: What will staffing requirements look like in the coming months, as the pandemic progresses?

New K-9s
One thing is for sure, two or three of the staff will be new. After the untimely death of K-9 Dani earlier this year, arrangements were made to replace her.
“We’ve gotten two dogs,” Capt. Todd said. “A third is supposed to be on its way.”
These will be multi-purpose police dogs, able to conduct drug sniffs, track suspects, seek missing persons, and perform their own special kind of public relations, meeting citizens at events. While officers still mourn their companion Dani, they are looking forward to bringing in the new dogs. “We’re happy with the way that’s going,” Capt. Todd said.

Grateful for support
Many in the community have been moved to reach out to the officers and others on the frontline of the pandemic, as citizens consider the risks being taken by those in public service. Expressions of support have taken a real — and real good — form, as donated food has been arriving at the department.
“I can’t thank people enough,” Capt. Todd said, mentioning the Dorchester Chamber of Commerce as recent donors. “It’s a big help to the officers on 12-hour shifts.”