“I’ve never seen it like this”: Cambridge residents react to increase in violent crime
CAMBRIDGE, Md. – Police in Cambridge say there’s been a major increase in crime this year. Compared to last year the city has already seen an almost 38 percent increase in aggravated assaults, a 55 percent increase in robberies and a 79 percent increase in vehicle thefts.
“I’ve lived in this ward all my life and I’ve never seen it like this at all,” says Gary Gordy, a Cambridge resident who is running for Ward 3 Commissioner.
Cambridge residents say they’re just as shocked by the recent increase in crime as police and city officials are. “It could happen anywhere. Whether it’s here, Walmart, Dollar Tree, anywhere. It can happen anywhere,” says a different Cambridge resident.
In the past week there have been three robberies, a stabbing on Cedar Street, a fatal stabbing on Douglas Street and a homicide on Chesapeake Court.
Some are now comparing the situation to Baltimore. “Trying to come down here to get away. It’s like I’m still at home. It is what it is though.”
“It’s like it’s coming down from the Western Shore to the Eastern Shore,” says Gordy.
On Tuesday, police and the city’s mayor held a press conference to try and reassure the public that they’re doing all they can to track down the people responsible.
“To the ones that are responsible for these crimes, you are not welcome in our community,” says Cambridge Police Chief Mark Lewis.
“It’s not acceptable and I condemn the violence that’s going on in our community right now,” says Cambridge Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley.
Police acknowledge many people don’t want to offer up tips and residents say that’s a way for people to essentially mind their own business but they also believe that approach is making the situation worse.
“It’s street code. ‘I’m not going to say anything or that’s their problem.’ But the sad part about that is until it happens to somebody related to them or cousins or brothers and sisters get stabbed up and they want to go run to the police. That’s the sad part about it,” says Gordy. “We’re supposed to be a community and as a community we also supposed to stick together no matter what.”
Cambridge Police also believe their low number of officers isn’t helping the situation. Monday night, the council agreed to unfreeze five officer positions that were frozen due to COVID-19 budget cuts. Now their authorized strength is 46 officers which is still less than the 52 they had in 2010.
Police believe anonymous tips from the community can go a long way. If you think you have any helpful information about crime in Cambridge, you can call their anonymous tip line 410-228-3784.