Cambridge Police to Host Community Meetings

Get to know your local police sergeants at two community meetings.

Get to know your local police sergeants at two community meetings. Image via Instagram @CambridgePolice.

The Cambridge Police Department has announced two community meetings to discuss crime and safety concerns with neighbors. The first meeting will take place next Monday, October 21 at 7:00pm at the Peabody School in North Cambridge (70 Rindge Ave.). The second meeting is scheduled for the following evening, Tuesday, October 22 at 6:30pm at the King Open School in East Cambridge* (850 Cambridge St.).

Each meeting will be hosted by a CPD sergeant assigned to the neighborhood, so you’ll be speaking with the people who walk the beat on your street. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Dan Riviello, the CPD’s Director of Communication, at 617-349-3237 or email him at pio@cambridgepolice.org.

*Longtime Cantabrigians are well aware that “East Cambridge starts at the tracks,” and the King School is technically in the Wellington-Harrington neighborhood.

Community Meeting Recap

Last night I hosted a community meeting at the Cambridge Police Station to discuss the recent rash of armed robberies that have occurred in Cambridge and have been concentrated in the East Cambridge and Wellington-Harrington neighborhoods. The meeting was packed with at least one hundred residents, and was well attended by Cambridge Police officers and administrators, including Police Commissioner Robert Haas.

The best news that we have learned is that there have been no new incidents since the incidents that occurred over a 2-3 day span last week. Police believe that a total of five robberies in Cambridge are linked to each other, but that similar robberies have also occurred in other communities in the Boston area. While the police stressed that it is important for residents to remain alert and on guard, they believe that the pattern is moving out of Cambridge and into the surrounding area.

Even if the threat of robbery has declined, police still advised residents to familiarize themselves with what they should do if they are robbed. The most important thing is to comply completely, especially if the assailants are armed. Belongings can be replaced but your life cannot be. Do not chase after the robber when they leave.

Someone who is robbed should seek help immediately and call 911 with the closest available phone. If the police do not arrive right away, do not be alarmed and stay where you are. The first priority of responding officers will be to search the area in which you were robbed. Once a search has been conducted, police will respond to your location.

While police are currently reluctant to release specifics about their investigation, they have said that they have a number of leads that they are investigating. They do not believe the suspects are Cambridge residents and have said that the suspects have been changing the vehicle that they use as a getaway.

In order to prevent additional robberies, the Cambridge Police have heavily stepped up police presence in neighborhoods where robberies have occured. A number of plain-clothes detectives are also patrolling the neighborhoods and are on the lookout for suspicious persons.

The city and the Police Department are taking this crime spree extremely seriously and are doing everything possible to prevent future incidents from occurring and to bring the perpetrators of last week’s crimes to justice. If you believe that you have information that may aid police in their investigation of these crimes, please call 617-349-3300 or send a text to TIP411 (847411) and begin your message with “TIP650″ (no quotation marks).

Recent Robbery Spree

As many of you may know, there has been a string of armed robberies in Cambridge in recent days, with some of the robberies occurring in East Cambridge. East Cambridge is known as a safe, relatively quiet neighborhood, and to see crimes like these happen here is especially disturbing.

Here are the facts about what has happened so far: since Monday, there have been a total of 6 incidents around the city. On Monday night (October 24th), a woman was robbed of her purse on Marney Street around 8:00 p.m. Half an hour later, a delivery driver was robbed on Thorndike Street.

On Tuesday morning, there were instances of two men being held up for their cell phones and money. These incidents occurred on Chatham and Hancock Streets.

On Tuesday night, there were two more robberies within minutes of each other. At 11:45, a man was approached from behind by two assailants near the intersection of Harvard and Dana Streets. He was robbed of his cell phone, laptop, and money. Eight minutes later, another man was approached by two assailants at the intersection of Cardinal Medeiros Avenue and Marney Street and was also robbed.

Each victim reported being robbed by two black men with a handgun. None of the victims were injured.

The Cambridge police have asked residents to be alert and aware of their surroundings when walking on the street, and to walk in pairs or groups if possible. If you are walking alone, do not wear headphones as they impair your ability to be alert and aware. If you feel that you are being followed, show that you are suspicious by turning to look at the person you believe to be following you. This shows that you are alert and will not be taken by surprise. If you are being followed by a car, turn and walk in the opposite direction.

Most importantly, if you are approached by a robber, DO NOT RESIST, especially if the robber is armed. Belongings can be replaced. Human life cannot. If you are robbed, try to remember details about the assailants, such as height, age, race, and any identifying marks, scars, or tattoos so that you may relay them to the police.

At this time, the Cambridge Police are actively following a number of leads on these incidents. CPD is developing a plan for increasing patrols in neighborhoods in which these robberies have occurred, and a team of detectives has been dedicated to these cases.

I am in the process of planning a community meeting to take place some time next week in order to relay information to residents and discuss the community and police response to these crimes. Please check back here for information about the time and date.

City of Cambridge Seeks Members for Police Review and Advisory Board

The City of Cambridge is seeking members for its civilian Police Review and Advisory board, which is responsible for providing a means for citizen participation in the review of the policies of the Cambridge Police Department and the investigation of complaints. Please see below for more information about the board and how to apply:

The City of Cambridge is seeking residents interested in serving as members of the Police Review & Advisory Board. The Board generally meets on the last Wednesday of the month at 6 p.m.

The Police Review & Advisory Board was established by City Ordinance in 1984 to:

• Provide for citizen participation in reviewing Police Department policies, practices, and procedures;
• Provide a prompt, impartial, and fair investigation of complaints brought by individuals against members of the Cambridge Police Department; and
• Develop programs and strategies to promote positive police/community relations and provide opportunities for expanded discussions, improved understanding, and innovative ways of resolving differences.

The Board consists of five civilians who are representative of the City’s racial, social, and economic composition. Board Members must: possess a reputation for fairness, integrity and responsibility; have demonstrated an active interest in public affairs and service; and be a resident of the City of Cambridge. For more information about the Board, see its web page at www.cambridgema.gov/prab.

Board Members serve as volunteers without compensation and assist in education and outreach to improve community confidence in city government in general, and to strengthen police/community relations.

A letter of interest with a brief résumé should be sent via e-mail, mail or fax by Friday, September 23, 2011 to:

Robert W. Healy, City Manager
City of Cambridge
795 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA  02139
Ph. 617-349-4300
Fax 617-349-4307
E-mail: citymanager@cambridgema.gov

Hurricane Preparedness

While there is still a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the precise track that Hurricane Irene will take as it nears the East Coast, now is the best time for New Englanders to begin preparing for the possibility of severe weather. With the storm still roughly four days away, there is plenty of time to safely and thoroughly prepare using the tips below from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Think about the supplies you will need for a basic emergency kit. These will include:

  • Water: one gallon per person per day for three days is the recommended quantity.
  • Food: three-day supply of non-perishable food.
  • Radio: battery powered or hand-crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio for receiving weather alerts, along with extra batteries for both.
  • Flashlight: make sure to have extra batteries for the flashlight as well.
  • First Aid Kit: your first aid kit should include two pairs of latex or sterile gloves, sterile wound dressings, a cleansing agent and antibiotic towelettes, burn ointment, adhesive bandages, eye wash solution, a thermometer, any medication prescribed to you and your family members that you take every day, such as insulin, heart medicine, and inhalers, as well as any prescribed medical supplies such as glucose and blood pressure monitoring equipment. Tweezers and scissors may also be helpful to have on hand.
  • Whistle: to signal for help.
  • Sanitation: moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties.
  • Can opener
  • A map
  • Cell phone: extra batteries and a solar or inverter charger should also be considered.

Other items to consider:

  • Prescription medications and glasses
  • Infant formula and diapers
  • Pet food and water for your pet
  • Cash and travelers checks
  • Important financial documents, insurance policies, passports and identification, immigration documents, and bank account records stored in a portable and waterproof container.
  • Emergency reference materials, such as a first aid manual
  • A sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • Complete change of clothing including a long-sleeved shirt, pants, and sturdy shoes
  • Chlorine bleach and a medicine dropper. Add 16 drops of bleach to a gallon of water to create a disinfectant.
  • Matches in a waterproof container.
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene products
  • Mess kits and paper towels
  • Paper and pencils
  • Books, games, puzzles, and other activities for children  

Should hurricane conditions be expected by the National Weather Service, prepare your home and property:

    • Take in bikes, lawn chairs, tables, and other items from yards and decks, as they could be picked up by strong gusts of wind.
    • Close all windows, doors, and storm shutters. If forecasts show that hurricane-force winds may strike the area, it is recommended that you cover windows with plywood.
    • Turn your refrigerator and freezer to coldest settings and keep them closed as much as possible to keep air cold in case the power goes out.
    • Make sure your car has a full tank of gas.

    Please pay close attention to news and weather reports in the coming days. Staying informed is one of the best ways to be prepared and stay safe.

    Public Safety Committee Meeting

    Wednesday January 21, 2009 @ 6pm in the Sullivan Chamber (Cambridge City Hall).

    The Public Safety Committee will be having a public meeting to hear an update from the Police Commissioner on recent crime trends, and also to discuss the Hazard Mitigation Plan with the Commissioner of Public Works.

    Please join us and share your thoughts.

    Statewide Bills

    Bond Bills:


    Transportation Bond Bills:
    Both the three-year $3.5 billion bond bill to finance and increase efficiency in long term projects for the state such as the Green Line Extension through Cambridge and Somerville, and the $1.5 billion bond bill to fund projects on municipal transportation projects will serve to help Massachusetts to meet the increasing demands of our state’s aging transportation infrastructure.
    Chapter 86 of the Acts of 2008
    Chapter 172 of the Acts of 2008

    Housing Bond Bill:
    This $1.3 billion bond bill was passed to create and encourage long term development of capital improvements and affordable housing resources, helping to make homeownership a more attainable goal to families across the state
    Chapter 119 of the Acts of 2008

    Bridge Repair Bond Bill:
    This $3 billion bridge repair bond bill provides for the preservation of existing transportation infrastructure, and the assurance of safety on our state’s bridges.
    Chapter 233 of the Acts of 2008

    Higher Education Bond Bill:
    This $2.2 billion bond bill will help the Commonwealth to control costs of higher education for Massachusetts families.
    Chapter 258 of the Acts of 2008

    Children and Families:

    Booster Seat Bill:
    This crucial public safety initiative is an important step in protecting child passengers on the road, and requires children up to the age of 8 or the height of 4’9” (whichever comes first) to be secured by child passenger safety devices. The proper use of booster seats has been proven to significantly decrease child fatalities in motor vehicle accidents.
    Chapter 79 of the Acts of 2008

    Child Abuse and Neglect Legislation:
    This bill created a brand new cabinet level secretary responsible solely for child welfare, establishes minimum education requirements for social workers and toughens penalties for child abuse and neglect.
    Chapter 176 of the Acts of 2008

    Child Protection Legislation (Jessica’s Law):
    Aiming to further protect children from sexual predators, this important legislation increased penalties for sex offenders, and enhanced online tracking of online sexual predators.
    Chapter 205 of the Laws of 2008

    Education:

    Reorganization of the Commonwealth’s Education Governance Structure:
    This reorganization has taken important steps to streamline, simplify and improve communication and coordination between every education sector of the Commonwealth. Most importantly, it created a cabinet level secretary to oversee the state’s education system and its reorganization.
    Chapter 27 of the Acts of 2008

    Reorganization of Early Education Quality & Care System:
    As an extension of the overall education reorganization, this initiative works toward improving access to and the quality of early childhood education for all children in the Commonwealth, creating the new Department of Early Education and Care.
    Chapter 215 of the Acts of 2008

    Environment:

    Global Warming Solutions Act:
    With this bill, Massachusetts put in place a long term plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions. This is an important step forward in the fight to save our environment from the dangerous effects of harmful emissions produced by humans.
    Chapter 298 of the Acts of 2008

    Green Communities Act:
    This broad reaching energy reform package establishes bold new clean, renewable energy goals for the Commonwealth, providing incentives to municipalities, businesses and individuals to invest in progressive energy saving technologies to meet the new benchmarks.
    Chapter 169 of the Acts of 2008

    Green Jobs Bill:
    Unanimously supported by both braches of the legislature, this innovative initiative will encourage green start-up companies to expand in Massachusetts, and provide residents of all experience levels with exciting new and sustainable careers.
    Chapter 307 of the Acts of 2008

    Ocean Management Bill:
    This bill clarifies existing ocean management laws to allow for clean energy development in areas that had previously been zoned only for traditional energy generation.
    Chapter 114 of the Acts of 2008

    Health Care:

    Electronic Health Records for Health and Human Services:
    Moving to further improve Massachusetts health care system, this bill modernizes and standardizes the state’s health care records for those enrolled in states programs. It will help to simplify record keeping and decrease costs to taxpayers over the next several years.
    Chapter 130 of the Acts of 2007

    Protecting Patient Confidentiality:
    This common-sense legislation provides clients of mental health counselors with the same right to privacy and confidentiality as clients of psychiatrists and psychologists.
    Chapter 142 of the Acts of 2007

    Public Service:

    Commonwealth Corps:
    This bill established the Commonwealth Corps, a statewide volunteer service organization that works in partnership with the Massachusetts Service Alliance. The mission of the Commonwealth Corps is to engage Massachusetts residents of all ages and backgrounds in direct service to rebuild communities and address unmet community needs. The Corps will provide opportunities for skill building, leadership development and will encourage and enhance a lifelong civic vocation for Corps members.
    Chapter 192 of the Acts of 2007

    Increased Benefits to Families of Police and Firefighters:
    Helping cities and towns to show gratitude to the loved ones of those killed in the line of duty for their thankless public service, this bill allows municipalities to raise funeral expense reimbursements to families of police officers and firefighters killed while on the job from $5,000 to $15,000
    Chapter 110 of the Acts of 2007


    Tax/Fiscal Policy
    :

    Sales Tax Holiday:
    For the fifth year in a row, the members of the legislature overwhelmingly voted to suspend the state sales tax for one weekend in August, providing consumers with an incentive to stimulate the local retail economy.
    Chapter 211 of the Acts of 2008

    Corporate Tax Reform:
    This bill closed several so-called corporate tax loopholes that were being abused by larger companies at the expense of small businesses and individual taxpayers, increasing tax fairness in the Commonwealth.
    Chapter 173 of the Acts of 2008

    Investment in Life Sciences:
    This 10-year, $1 billion bill invests in our state’s ever-growing life sciences sector, helping to draw new life science companies to the region and keep current ones here. This will have a significant impact growing the number of quality jobs and the state’s reputation as a world leader in life sciences.
    Chapter 130 of the Acts of 2008

    Mortgage Foreclosure Relief:
    In response to the unprecedented spike in the number of home foreclosures, this legislation encourages banks to help borrowers, providing a three month window to cure defaults. It also mandates tough new licensing standards for mortgage loan originators.
    Chapter 224 of the Acts of 2007

    LIHEAP Fuel-Assistance Appropriation:
    Passed in anticipation of a difficult winter season, this bill provided emergency funding to help more than 100,000 elderly residents and low income families pay to heat their homes over the coldest months.
    Chapter 174 of the Acts of 2007


    *Note: This list only reflects a sampling of some of the more important legislation passed by the House and Senate and signed into law by the Governor. If you have any additional questions about any legislation, whether it is on this list or not, please feel free to contact my State House staff at 617-722-2692.

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    Read more about the 2007-2008 Formal Legislative Session:

    Bills that Require Further Attention

    Although the 2007-2008 formal legislative session was extremely productive, some bills never made it to a full vote, and must remain priorities for the 2009-2010 session. Over the past two years we were able to address many of the pressing concerns of the citizens, families, businesses and municipalities of the Commonwealth, but several other crucial matters still require further attention.

    Here are a few highlights:

    CORI Reform:

    In the beginning of 2008, Governor Deval Patrick introduced legislation relative to reducing recidivism rates by providing better employment opportunities to citizens who have been convicted of criminal offenses. One of the most important parts of this bill would prevent employers from accessing information about fraudulent charges on which a defendant has been found innocent.

    Although the bill gained some attention this year, it never made it to the floor of the House for a vote, and it remains a top priority hopefully to be addressed early next session.

    Non-Lethal Defense Sprays:

    In the interest of helping citizens protect themselves from violent and predatory criminals without needing to buy a firearm, it is essential that Massachusetts increase the availability of non-lethal defense sprays. While on the one hand it is important to work to decrease the number of illegal and unregistered hand guns and automatic weapons on our streets, another often neglected front in the battle against crime is providing people with legal ways that they can protect themselves and their families. Non-lethal defense sprays offer an effective and safe way for people to feel secure both while out walking on city streets and within in their own homes.

    I filed a bill that will help increase legal access to such defense sprays, which has been reported favorably by The Committee on Public Safety, but still requires a vote before the House and Senate.

    Urban Speed Limits:

    In the wake of several tragic deaths on roads in urban districts, it is clear that we must take steps to increase the safety of pedestrians on sidewalks and in crosswalks. Vehicles operating at high speeds in highly populated areas cause a significant threat to safety for all pedestrians, and especially children.

    Based upon the recommendation of various transportation agencies and safety experts, this bill will decrease roadway speed limits in urban districts to 25 MPH and will considerably increase the safety of the tens of thousands of pedestrians in urban areas every day.

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    Read more about the 2007-2008 Formal Legislative Session: