HARVARD – Crime in Harvard fell from 2008 to 2009; however, Police Chief Daniel Kazy-Garey cautioned against reading too much into the statistics.
Kazy-Garey said that it was not unusual for crime statistics to fluctuate from year to year.
“It’s down across the nation,” Kazy-Garey said. “But as soon as you put [some interpretation] on there, it will start to go back up again.”
The number of criminal offenses reported in Harvard fell from 153 in 2008 to about 129 in 2009.
The largest drop occurred in reported aggravated assaults and batteries, from 31 in 2008 to 16 in 2009.
The number of individuals arrested for drug offenses, 58, actually surpassed the number of individuals arrested for other criminal offenses combined.
The total number of arrests for criminal sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, battery, burglary and theft was 55.
Harvard’s rate of crime based on its population of 9,840 also fell.
One significant change in the police department was the creation of the Emergency Response Team. The team serves “high-risk” arrest and search warrants, Kazy-Garey said. The team also would be used to deal with any reports of an active shooting in the city.
“We use the team any time we determine that there is a significant risk to officers or residents in the surrounding area,” Kazy-Garey said.
Kazy-Garey said risk would include the serving of a warrant on an individual that officers believe might be armed or who has a history of violence.
Eight of Harvard’s 18 full-time officers are members of the response team. So far, the team has served three search warrants, arresting six people.
Kazy-Garey said much of the team’s work involved executing warrants related to drug investigations “because of the direct correlation between drugs and the possibility that a suspect might be armed.”
The charges resulting from the team’s work include six counts of possession of marijuana and one count each of possession of a controlled substance, production of marijuana, possession with intent to deliver marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon.