MIT Police

The last 18 months have seen significant change at the MIT Police Department. Internally there has been a dramatic shift in the policing strategy in order to more fully address the needs of the Institute. There has been a subtle but significant shift from the traditional policing model to community and problem-solving policing with an additional focus on security-based initiatives. First-line supervision has been increased, and these individuals have been empowered to make decisions and to accept responsibility for their subordinates. Morale in the ranks has improved strongly, as evidenced by an entirely new elected Union Executive Board that is willing to work in partnership with management.

Additionally, the department has continued to build on the changes in personnel. The structure has been redesigned so that the new lieutenants are responsible for three distinct areas: Patrol Operations, Community Policing, and Professional Standards.

Patrol Division

The Patrol Division introduced a mobile command post that enables the MIT Police Department to operate and communicate at 100 percent efficiency during an emergency situation. In addition, the MIT Bicycle Patrol and Motorcycle units have been redesigned as dedicated patrols with particular focus on parking lots, garages, and other areas that present a potential threat to the personal safety of members of our community.

Professional Standards

Under the umbrella title of Professional Standards are two areas new to the MIT Police Department. The first is a stand-alone internal affairs function dedicated to addressing any complaint lodged against a member of the department concerning misfeasance, malfeasance, or inappropriate conduct. The other is an intelligence function, which keeps the department updated on all enforcement information and ensures coordination and cooperation with outside law enforcement entities.

Community Policing

Lieutenant Albert Pierce was placed in charge of the newly formed Community Policing Unit. This unit comprises one sergeant and two patrol officers. The unit has developed an awareness program that will be beneficial to the entire MIT community. The program, which has been designed to fit the needs of the diverse campus population, is about delivering the message of police professionalism, police services, and building relationships not only in the MIT community but also with the Cambridge and Boston communities where MIT students reside.

Programs conducted by the Community Policing Unit included: auto window etching to reduce automobile theft; a child ID program that was done in collaboration with the MIT Federal Credit Union and the Masonic Lodge; and a program on domestic violence, drugs, alcohol, and acquaintance rape, sponsored by the Middlesex District Attorney's Office.

Criminal Activity

During 2002, crimes against persons decreased by 6 in comparison to 2001. The total number of crimes against persons was 24, with the highest increase in aggravated assault. There was a 2.5 percent decrease in Institute property theft when compared to 2001. A total of 117 pieces of Institute property were reported stolen. Computer and computer components continue to be the most frequently stolen Institute property. There was an increase of personal property items stolen at sites other than residence halls. The total number of thefts reported was 438, representing a 15 percent increase over the previous year.

Wallets, laptops, backpacks, and other electronic devices were the most frequently stolen items. Residence hall theft totaled 49 reported thefts. This is a 22 percent increase from 2001. These thefts included bicycles and electronic devices. There were 6 motor vehicles reported stolen from campus this year in comparison to 16 in 2001.

Department Highlights

The Department Honor Guard, which was formed last year, continues to be a favorite of the MIT community and surrounding communities as well. The group participated in local community parades, September 11, 2002 ceremonies held on campus, and at MIT's Commencement.

Our increased training also has produced a superior criminal sketch artist who not only has been effective within the MIT community but also has assisted other police departments in serious crimes.

The MIT Police continue to provide 24-hour emergency medical services to members of the MIT community and the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory. In July 2002, volunteer student EMTs began a ride-along program with the MIT police EMTs. In the fall of 2002, these student EMTs became part of the ambulance crew for MIT. There were 399 medical calls in 2002.

The MIT Police Department is committed to continuing its efforts to become the leader in the Campus Police field.

John DiFava
Chief of Police

More information about the MIT Police Department can be found on the web at


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