Cambridge police calls increase 50 percent since 2006

Rachel Kytonen

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“We have the same problems as a big city, but we have less of it and on a smaller scale.”

That was Cambridge Police Chief Dave Pajnic’s message to the Cambridge City Council given during his annual report at a recent city council meeting.

Chief Pajnic explained the police department currently has 13 sworn officer positions, which is two less than cities of a similar size. He said the department hasn’t hired any new sworn officers since hiring a second sergeant in 2008.

Chief Pajnic mentioned the Federal Department of Justice recommends a city to have 2.2 officers for every 1,000 people. He said that would equate to 17.6 or 18 officers for the city of Cambridge.

Chief Pajnic explained there have been 1,041 arrests from 2006 to 2010.

Chief Pajnic relayed that calls for service have increased 51 percent over a six-year period. In 2006 there were 5,889 calls for service; 2007, 7,841 calls; 2008, 8,036 calls; 2009, 10,473 calls; 2010, 10,847 calls and 2011, 12,103 calls.

For some positive news, Chief Pajnic informed the council the city had a 37 percent reduction in its crime rate due to the department’s change in focus on community policing by taking a proactive stance.

He mentioned in 2009, the department implemented an aggressive business check program where officers will stop in and check to make sure everything is okay, and will leave a door hanger letting the business owner know an officer had stopped by.

In 2009, officers conducted 3,355 business checks and 4,145 in 2010. The results yielded a 58 percent decrease in business burglaries, a 36 percent decrease in total burglaries and a 37 percent decrease in thefts.

Chief Pajnic also listed the many different communities the department is involved in.

“We really do feel good about the presence of the police department within our community,” said Mayor Marlys Palmer. “We have been very fortunate to have very good police chiefs over the years. I cannot tell you how much of a feeling of confidence it gives us knowing that if something happens you will be there.”

Chief Pajnic feels he has a great group of officers to work with.

“You really do have a great police department in Cambridge and a great group of sworn officers,” he noted. “I think we work well with all the other surrounding agencies…We really do have to work together…We are all trying to accomplish the same goal.”


Cambridge Fire Report

Cambridge Fire Chief Sean Okerlund explained the department current has 30 paid, on-call firefighters.

As far as training, Okerlund explained the department trains at least two hours twice per month. Technical rescue, first responder and hazmat requires additional training.

Okerlund explained new members will be required to train 124 hours in their first year and get their first responder training done within the first two years.

Okerlund explained training and equipment grants have really increased over the past two to three years and have been used to purchase various items.

Services the department currently offers include: fire suppression, first responder, auto extrication, technical rescue, hi angle rope rescue, confined space rescue, co/explosive gas testing and building pre-plans that are computer-based.

Okerlund also highlighted areas of community involvement that include Cambridge Day Out, Patriot Ride, Downtown Customer Appreciation, Safety Camp and elementary school visits.

Cambridge offenses from 2006-2010:

1,310 larceny
55 sexual assaults
165 narcotics
156 burglary
272 assaults
58 auto thefts
294 forgery/fraud
113 DUI
535 vandalism

2011 Cambridge Fire Call Volume by Type:

Fire: 34
Overpressure, rupture: 0
Rescue/EMS incident: 30
Hazardous conditions: 24
Service call: 6
Good Intent call: 17
False Alarm/call: 57
Severe Weather: 1
Special Incident: 0