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Special Investigations Unit

The Special Investigations Unit investigates illegal drug activity and vice crimes such as prostitution and gambling. The Special Investigations Unit operates under the philosophy that you should demand a safe, non-violent, drug free neighborhood in which to live, work and raise your family. Members of this Unit are dedicated to pro-active strategies targeting street level dealers and users that negatively impact your neighborhood and deprive you of a feeling of safety and security. As a law enforcement entity involved with the community we search for innovative ways to combat the threat posed by illegal drugs through programs like its PARTNER Initiative.

The Special Investigations Unit works with other local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in combating illegal narcotic distribution networks and also works to divert substance abusers into appropriate treatment options. We work closely with members of the District Attorneys Office preparing successful prosecutions for drug related crimes and associated crimes of violence.

You do NOT have to tolerate drug dealers and drug users in your neighborhood. You can be a part of the solution by offering information on suspected activity by contacting the Cambridge Police 24-hour Anonymous Crime/Drug Tip Hotline or the Cambridge Police Special Investigations Unit directly.

Illegal narcotics use and dealing is not a simple law enforcement problem. Rather it is a community problem and law enforcement is merely a part of the solution. Our drug problems in Cambridge are similar to those in other local communities across the country. All citizens share a responsibility to take a stand against illegal drug use and work in partnerships to assist their community. The Special Investigations Unit stands ready to continue to forge these relationships within our community.

Call the Anonymous Crime/Drug Tip Hotline at 617-349-3359:

The 24-hour Anonymous Crime/Drug Tip Hotline is a mechanism for citizens to provide the Special Investigations Unit with information relating to illicit drug use and distribution, as well as vice issues such as prostitution and gambling. For more information on how to report drug activity or crime anonymous, visit our Anonymous Crime Tips page.

How does the Anonymous Crime/Drug Tip Hotline work?

When a citizen calls 617-349-3359, he or she will generally hear a taped message explaining that a detective is not presently available. However, speak as long as you like, explaining the activity in as much detail as you can. You do not have to provide your name, address, or telephone number. All information is kept strictly confidential.

How can I use the Anonymous Crime/Drug Tip Hotline most effectively?

  • Speak clearly and don't rush. Take your time leaving your message.
  • Be as specific as possible in providing the following information:
    • Location of the incident: street address of building or house, names of nearest intersecting streets, landmarks near or at the scene.
    • Description of persons involved, such as height, sex, age, weight, clothing, hair color, eye color, skin color, and any distinguishing marks.
    • Description of vehicles involved, such as make, model, color, and license plate.

Remember, this is an anonymous tip line. All information is kept strictly confidential, within the Special Investigations Unit.

Any citizen who requires further information is urged to contact the Special Investigations Unit at 617-349-3359.

What happens to the information I provide?

Information is "logged in" and cross-referenced, allowing detectives to determine if additional information related to the criminal activity about which you are calling has been reported in the past. Even "small" bits of information can at times provide detectives the "missing link" that allows them to take action. All information remains confidential, and within the Special Investigations Unit.

What if I want to speak with a detective directly?

You can leave your name and telephone number on the tape, and a detective will call you as soon as possible. Only certain Special Investigations detectives have access to the Anonymous Drug Tip Hot Line. Again, your name will remain strictly confidential at all times.

What if I want to report a drug transaction that is happening right now?

If you witness a drug crime or any other crime that requires immediate police response: DIAL 9-1-1. A patrol unit will be dispatched to the area. Many times, Special Investigations Unit detectives will hear the dispatch and take direct action themselves.

What are some external resources I can contact for help?

What are some signs that may indicate Human Trafficking?

Common work and living conditions: The individual(s) in question

  • Is not free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes
  • Is under 18 and is providing commercial sex acts
  • Is in the commercial sex industry and has a pimp/manager
  • Is unpaid, paid very little, or paid only through tips
  • Works excessively long and/or unusual hours
  • Is not allowed breaks or suffers under unusual restrictions at work
  • Owes a large debt and is unable to pay it off
  • Was recruited through false promises concerning the nature and conditions of his/her work
  • High security measures exist in the work and/or living locations (ie. Opaque windows, boarded up windows, bars on windows, barbed wire, security cameras, ect.)

Poor Mental Health or Abnormal Behavior

  • Is fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid
  • Exhibits unusually fearful or anxious behavior after bringing up law enforcement
  • Avoids eye contact

Poor Physical Health

  • Lacks health care
  • Appears malnourished
  • Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement or torture

Lack of Control

  • Has few or no personal possessions
  • Is not in control of his/her own money, no financial records, or bank account
  • Is not in control of his/her own identification documents (ID or passport)
  • Is not allowed or able to speak for themselves (a 3rd party may insist on being present and/or translating)


  • Claims of just visiting and inability to clarify where he/she is staying/address
  • Lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or do not know what city he/she is in
  • Loss of sense of time
  • Has numerous inconsistencies in his/her story

*This list is not exhaustive and represents only a selection of possible indicators. Also, the red flags in the list may not be present in all trafficking cases and are not cumulative.

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