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Cambridge Massachusetts Crime Rate [2024] 👮‍♂️ | Is Cambridge MA Safe? [Crime Map + Stats]

Last Updated on: 23rd February 2024, 04:12 pm

Is living in Cambridge in your future? Whether you’re relocating for a job, moving within the Boston metro area, or you’re planning to attend Harvard or MIT, crime may be one of many things on your mind. Is Cambridge MA safe?

Cambridge crime is close to the national average, although it’s high for Massachusetts. Most crime in Cambridge is property crime like theft with no homicides in 2022.

Here’s what you should know about your risk of crime in Cambridge, including campus crime statistics and safety tips.

Understanding the Cambridge MA Crime Rate – How Crime Rates Are Calculated

Cambridge crime rates are based on the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program which tracks eight index crimes. This program was replaced with the National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) in 2021. The more comprehensive system has 20 index offenses.

Crime rates only include a select number of serious crimes and come with other limitations:

  • A crime rate can be misleading because a small number of high-crime neighborhoods can skew the rate for the entire city
  • The rate only includes crimes reported to police
  • The police department’s crime reporting system and accuracy can influence data
  • Many offenses, like drug crimes, are not included

The FBI itself even warns against using crime rates to compare cities. However, crime rates can give you an indication of general safety and what types of crimes are more common in the community.

What Is the Cambridge Massachusetts Crime Rate?

The Cambridge crime rate is 2,646 total crimes per 100,000 people. That’s 14% above the national average and 90% higher than the Massachusetts average.

Cambridge MA Crime Rate (Per 100,000 People)
Cambridge Crime Rate Massachusetts Crime Rate National Crime Rate
Total Crime 2,646 1,392 2,324
Violent Crime 406 322 370
Property Crime 2,240 1,070 1,964

In 2021, Cambridge crime hit a 5-year high due to a spike in rapes, car thefts, larcenies, hate crimes, and drug overdoses. This followed an 8% increase in crime in 2020 after a 50-year record low level of crime in 2019.

In 2021, there were 351 reported drug overdoses in the city and 35 deaths, the highest number in a decade. Almost all deaths involved opioids, prompting a special report.

Despite the spike in crime, Cambridge generally has fewer serious criminal offenses than the average of cities with a comparable population.

Cambridge Crime Rate Comparison – Crime in Cambridge vs Boston & Similar Cities

Crime Rate in Cambridge vs Boston and Similarly Sized Cities
City Crime Rate Per 100k Comparison to Cambridge Violent Crime Per 100k Comparison to Cambridge
Quincy, MA 1,488 -43.7% 397 -2.2%
Sandy Springs, GA 1,635 -38.2% 139 -65.8%
El Cajon, CA 2,078 -21.4% 469 +15.5%
Lowell, MA 2,149 -18.7% 402 -1%
New Bedford, MA 2,186 -17.4% 626 +54.2%
Clearwater, FL 2,295 -13.3% 396 -2.4%
Boston, MA 2,421 -8.5% 619 +52.4%
Round Rock, TX 2,473 -6.5% 169 -58.4%
Cambridge, MA 2,646 406
Hartford, CT 3,048 +15.2% 570 +40.4%
Boulder, CO 3,372 +27.4% 371 -8.6%
Wilmington, NC 3,398 +28.4% 532 +31%
Lansing, MI 3,970 +50% 1,279 +215%
Everett, WA 4,793 +81.1% 443 +9.1%
Springfield, IL 5,015 +89.5% 770 +89.7%

Cambridge Crime Map & Crime Reports

The Cambridge crime map from CrimeGrades shows a heat map of high-crime and safe areas of the city. The Cambridge Police Department also offers an interactive chart with crime in Cambridge by neighborhood.

You can see additional Cambridge crime statistics and reports at the CPD Data Center. The Open Data Portal allows you to view a list of reported Cambridge crimes throughout the year. Over 40 types of crimes are included.

Below are Cambridge crime reports by type.

Violent Crime in Cambridge

There were 475 violent crimes in Cambridge in 2022, including:

  • Homicide: 0
  • Rape: 42 (36 per 100,000)
  • Robbery: 96 (82 per 100,000)
  • Assault: 337 (288 per 100,000)

The violent crime rate is 406 per 100,000. By comparison, the Massachusetts violent crime rate is 322, and the national average is 370 per 100,000. The Cambridge violent crime rate is 10% higher than the U.S. average. However, the Massachusetts homicide rate is 2.1 per 100,000, while the U.S. murder rate is 6.3 per 100,000 versus zero homicides in Cambridge.

While robbery is at a historical low, rapes have been on the rise and reached the highest number in more than 25 years. According to the police department, about half were committed by people known to the victims; the number of sexual assaults involving strangers is “extremely low.”

Property Crime in Cambridge

There were 2,622 property crimes in Cambridge in 2022, including:

  • Burglary: 278 (238 per 100,000)
  • Theft: 2,205 (1,884 per 100,000)
  • Vehicle theft: 139 (119 per 100,000)

The property crime rate is 2,240 per 100,000. The Massachusetts property crime rate is 1,070, and the national average is 1,954 per 100,000. Cambridge has a property crime rate 15% higher than the U.S. average.

Motor vehicle theft and larceny have been on the rise for several years. In particular, Cambridge has had a wave of catalytic converter thefts like many other cities. The Cambridge Police Department reports it receives calls about stolen catalytic converters nearly every day. Some businesses have suffered thefts several nights in a row.

Burglary, along with robbery, remains at a near historic low.

Cambridge Crime by Neighborhood

Looking for the safest place to live in Cambridge? Here’s an overview of crime by neighborhood.

The most dangerous neighborhoods in Cambridge include:

  • East Cambridge: It’s the most heavily trafficked commercial area in Cambridge, with the CambridgeSide Mall and the outer edge of Cambridge Center. Property destruction and theft from cars are the most common incidents.
  • The Port: This neighborhood has a high population density and several commercial areas along Massachusetts Ave, including Central Square, plus two public housing complexes and large apartment buildings. It has higher-than-average rates of aggravated assault, larceny from cars, home burglaries, and drug offenses. Central Square is a hotspot for drug use in the city.
  • Cambridgeport: The third largest neighborhood by population, Cambridgeport has multiple large apartment complexes and commercial areas. The most common serious criminal threat is street robbery. It also has a higher-than-average rate of home burglaries, bicycle theft, and theft from vehicles. Many aggravated assaults and robberies occur around the homeless shelter on Albany St.
  • North Cambridge: The high commercial and residential population in the neighborhood are responsible for a higher-than-average crime rate. Home break-ins usually happen in the summer. Street robberies are a problem in Linear Park, Russell Field, and near the Alewife MBTA Station. Vandalism and graffiti are also common offenses.
  • Mid-Cambridge: The neighborhood has higher-than-average crime due to several factors. It has the largest population in the city and includes most of Harvard and three of the five busiest squares in Cambridge. Bicycle thefts are a major problem in the Mid-Cambridge area as well as larcenies from homes such as package thefts.

Here are the safest neighborhoods in Cambridge:

  • Riverside: It’s the second-most populous neighborhood, but it’s below average for nearly all index crimes. Drug offenses are a recurring problem, along with theft from cars. Home break-ins are sometimes part of a pattern and often spill over from neighboring Cambridgeport.
  • Agassiz: One of the safest neighborhoods in Cambridge, Agassiz has one of the lowest rates of home break-ins, car thefts, street robberies, and malicious destruction.
  • The Highlands: This small neighborhood has one of the lowest crime rates in Cambridge. Most crime in the area is commercial.
  • Strawberry Hill: It’s one of the smallest but safest neighborhoods with a low risk of car theft, larceny from cars, malicious destruction, street robbery, and housebreaks.
  • MIT: The neighborhood has a low rate of violent crimes and street robbery, but students are often targeted by criminals. Car thefts and larceny from vehicles are common crimes along Amherst, Ames, and Vassar and at the Hyatt Hotel. Bicycle theft is also common.
  • Inman Harrington: The rate of home burglary is average in the neighborhood, and they usually occur near the border with The Port neighborhood. Donnelly Field and the King Open School are common sites of juvenile crimes like petty theft, fights, and vandalism.
  • West Cambridge: The largest neighborhood by area, West Cambridge has significant commercial activity around Harvard Square. Theft from vehicles is one of the biggest criminal threats, and these crimes usually happen in the region bordered by Mount Auburn St, Concord Ave, and Sparks St. Bicycle thefts are also common around Harvard Square in the spring and summer.
  • Peabody: Crime in Peabody, Cambridge, is average for the city. It’s home to many large apartment complexes and a public housing development. Cambridge Common is a hotspot for nighttime offenses, including robbery, sexual assault, drug use, and public drinking, but this has decreased in recent years. Theft from cars and car theft are more common in Peabody than in most areas of the city.

MIT & Harvard Campus Crime & Safety

Cambridge is home to two prestigious universities: Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Both have police departments that respond to crime on campus.

MIT Police Department

MIT Police patrol the campus on foot, in cruisers, and on motorcycles and bicycles with a Patrol Division, Training Unit, and Investigation Unit, which handles investigations and crime prevention.

Between 2000 and 2022, the MIT Police Department reported the following crimes:

  • Rape: 22
  • Fondling: 24
  • Aggravated assault: 10
  • Burglary: 10
  • Car theft: 4
  • Domestic violence: 14
  • Dating violence: 2
  • Stalking: 27
  • Hate crimes: 1

MIT’s Violence Prevention & Response (VPR) is a confidential resource available to students and their partners impacted by sexual harassment, stalking, dating/domestic violence, and sexual assault.

Harvard University Police Department

HUPD oversees the safety and security of 14,000 faculty and staff and over 19,000 students across 700 buildings and an open campus. The full-service police department has a Patrol Division, Detective Bureau, and Dignitary Protection Unit.

Between 2000 and 2022, the Harvard University Police Department reported the following crimes:

  • Rape: 54
  • Fondling: 35
  • Aggravated assault: 74
  • Burglary: 112
  • Robbery: 24
  • Car theft: 129
  • Domestic violence: 15
  • Stalking: 18
  • Hate crimes: 11

Harvard University crime increased in 2022 after hitting a 10-year low in 2021.

Cambridge Safety Tips for Students on Campus

  • Report suspicious activity or intruders to campus police as soon as possible to do so safely instead of confronting or following them
  • Renter’s insurance can cover belongings in student housing
  • Theft from vehicles is common: do not keep valuables in a vehicle and always lock your vehicle
  • Bicycle theft is a common campus crime: use a high-security U-lock and secure your bike around the frame and through both wheels. You can also register your bike with MIT.
  • The Harvard University Police Department offers safety and self-defense classes open to the Harvard community and taught by HUPD officers.
  • Never leave laptops, tablets, or backpacks unattended, even for a minute
  • Use theft deterrent tags for electronics. Laptop tagging is provided for free for MIT students.
  • Use the SafeRide shuttle for safe transportation around the MIT campus and to select Boston neighborhoods


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Cambridge Police Department

  • Address: 125 6th St, Cambridge, MA 02142
  • Non-emergency number: (617) 349-3300
  • Officers: 278 sworn officers and 41 civilian personnel
  • Police commissioner: Christine Elow

The Cambridge Police Department (CPD) was established in 1859 and today has close to 300 sworn officers in multiple divisions and units including:

  • Patrol Unit
  • Special Investigations Unit
  • Sexual Assault Unit
  • Auxiliary Police
  • Crime Analysis Unit
  • Criminal Investigations Unit
  • Crime Scene Services Unit
  • Crisis Negotiations Unit
  • Domestic Violence Unit
  • Public Safety Information Technology Unit

The CPD also offers a range of community services. The Cambridge Youth Boxing and Fitness Program is a collaboration between the police and the Cambridge YMCA. The department offers self-defense training for women, home security assessments, and senior outreach.

Cambridge Crime Rate FAQs

Is Cambridge MA Safe?

Cambridge crime is typical for a city of its size and comparable to Boston, one of the safest large cities in the country. Cambridge had no homicides in 2023, and most crime is property crime.

Is Cambridge, MA Safe at Night?

Cambridge is safe at night, but be aware of hotspots for nighttime crime and remain aware of your surroundings. Drug use is common in some parks. Street robberies and theft from vehicles are the most common threats at night and usually happen in commercial areas.

What Is the Cambridge Crime Rate?

The Cambridge, Massachusetts, crime rate is 2,646 total crimes per 100,000, with 406 violent crimes and 2,240 property crimes per 100,000. This is 14% higher than the national average crime rate.

Does Cambridge living sound perfect for you? The 5-star Cambridge movers at Mass Bay Movers are ready to deliver a worry-free moving day. Give us a call at (978) 587-3775 for a free, personalized moving quote and top-notch customer support.


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