New Map Database Shows Where Cambridge Crime Happens

A partnership with an analytics company allows Cambridge residents to get a day-to-day snapshot of the reported incidents in their neighborhood.
via Cambridge Police

via Cambridge Police

Finding out where certain crimes happen in Cambridge is as easy as clicking a button.

On Tuesday, the city’s Police Department announced a new initiative, in partnership with BAIR Analytics Inc., that allows anyone to get a snapshot of the crimes happening throughout Cambridge, both in the past and on a day-to-day basis. “We believe that an informed community is a safer community.  Being as transparent as we can and communicating information to the public not only lets people know what is happening in their community, but allows residents the chance to share information with police as well,” said Cambridge Police spokesman Dan Riviello. “For instance, if someone accesses this crime map and clicks on an incident, they have the option of submitting an anonymous tip to police right then and there.”

The map, called RAIDS Online, also shows the biggest crime problems by location. For instance, by highlighting a tab within the database, users can scope out where there have been arrests for narcotics violations, and which streets are experiencing an influx in robberies or car break-ins. The data captures what the FBI classifies as “Part 1” crimes, which are “the most serious,” and include incidents such as property theft and violent crime. Users can separate out specific crimes, and zoom in on their desired neighborhood.

Currently, the software defaults to show Part 1 crimes reported to Cambridge Police during the last two weeks. “I think this is a really innovative way to share crime information with the community,” said City Manager Richard Rossi in a statement. “Many police departments produce crime reports, but this new map allows residents to see, on a daily basis, where, when, and what types of crimes police are responding to in their neighborhoods.”

The Cambridge Police have been up front about the calls they receive when a crime is committed, and recently launched a new feed through their Twitter account to let people know what has been reported. As for the map, other cities and towns including Chelsea and Everett have also allowed data to be displayed. Boston does not have data plugged into the system at this time.

Here is a breakdown of some specific crimes, all of which occurred between June 2 and July 2, 2013:

Theft: This category seems to be the biggest issue plaguing Cambridge and while dispersed throughout the city, areas near Harvard Square and Central Square have had a lot of reports in the last month:


Assaults and Aggravated Assaults: While there were not many reports, those that police did respond to seemed to occur in some of the same areas as thefts did—Harvard Square and along Massachusetts Avenue, close to Central Square. Otherwise, these assaults are spread out fairly evenly around parts of Cambridge:


Car break-ins: In the last month, one of the other problems that has plagued Cambridge has been reports of car break-ins. Again, there seems to be a high concentration of theft from areas like Harvard Square, even though parking can often be hard to find in that area:



Steve Annear Steve Annear, Digital Writer at Boston Magazine