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About This Department

Community Safety Graphic that explains the Alternative Response Process

The Cambridge Community Safety Department’s (CSD) mission is to provide additional services to enhance the community’s health and well-being. We value compassion in our prevention and intervention efforts.  

The Community Safety Department is guided by the following values:

  • We are continuously learning, evolving and reimagining our approach in order to best meet the needs of the community we serve. We embrace a growth mindset and value curiosity, humility, and our shared humanity.  

  • We commit to living restorative practices such as building empathy, compassion, trust and mutual respect in all we do.

  • We center relationships, partnerships, authentic collaboration and joy in our work. We are guided by the wisdom, insights, and experiences of those who came before us and those who are doing the work today to build solutions community-wide. We are intentionally laying groundwork for the future we envision.  

  • We are consciously not reproducing systems of oppression. We aim to create equitable, anti-racist, and non-discriminatory ways of serving our community.  

  • We acknowledge the historical implications of the criminal legal system and the harm it has done to our communities. With this understanding, we value the dignity and humanity of all people.  

The City established the CSD in response to a City Council policy order to develop an unarmed alternative response program, as well as in response to community concerns about supporting Cambridge’s most vulnerable residents and enhancing violence prevention efforts.

The CSD’s CARE (Community Assistance Response and Engagement) team will respond to 9-1-1 calls for assistance that do not include scene safety concerns. The CARE team provides an alternative response model for non-violent behavioral health crises with specialized field teams who serve as a primary response. These specialized teams employ their training as well as lived experiences to provide immediate and follow up support to individuals in crisis.

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