ADVISORY: Cambridge Police Share Tips to Prevent Larcenies


The Cambridge Police Department would like to share information about a recent increase in larcenies throughout the City, and particularly in the Harvard Square area.

While there has not been a dramatic rise, when compared to 2011, 2012 saw a 14% increase in reported larcenies from persons.

The majority of these types of thefts taken place in the Harvard Square area over the past month have with two specific scenarios accounting for the majority of thefts.  These scenarios were; the theft of cell phones and wallets from victims who were at bars/restaurants between the hours of 8 p.m. – 12 a.m., and the theft of cell phones and wallets from victims during the late morning and early afternoon hours at cafes. People often leave their belongings unattended and realize they have been stolen as they are leaving establishments. 

Officers have been notified of the uptick in these types of crimes and are on the lookout as Cambridge Police encourage residents and students to take the following precautions to protect their belongings to avoid becoming victims of larcenies:

  • While dining out, do not place your purse or jacket over the back of your chair. Keep your purse on your lap or between your feet with the handle around the leg of your chair or your foot.
  • Do not leave a cell phone, laptop, or tablet unattended on your table.
  • When shopping, do not leave your purse or wallet unattended.
  • At work, put your purse or wallet in a drawer. Do not leave it on or under a desk.
  • Always keep your purse closed.
  • Do not keep your Personal Identification Numbers (PIN) in your purse or wallet.
  • Keep a list of all credit and ID cards at home along with the card number and customer service phone number in the event you need to close the account due to theft.

Cambridge Police have conducted successful undercover operations resulting in several arrests for this type of activity.  A known pickpocket from Boston was also arrested in Cambridge following an attempted purse theft from a business on Church Street on December 15, 2012.

Further information about this and other crime in Cambridge is available in the December BridgeStat monthly crime report.

More crime prevention and safety tips can be found at  

Visiting CPD

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Monday: 8:30am-8pm
Tuesday-Thursday: 8:30am-5pm
Friday: 8:30am-12pm

Cambridge Police Department

Branville G. Bard, Jr.
Police Commissioner

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Cambridge MA 02142