Lowell, Massachusetts

Evaluating Department-wide Reorganization

Lowell Police Department building and cars

Lowell Patch

Site LE Agency
Lowell Police Department

Site Researcher
Brenda Bond, Ph.D., Suffolk University

Site Focus
Property Crime, Violent Crime, Organizational Change

SPI Strategy
Problem-oriented policing, Place-based policing, Offender-based policing

Site Cohort
2014

Site Profile
Medium urban area of 13.58 sq. miles with a population of 109,729

Project Overview

While the crime rate in the City of Lowell, Massachusetts was mostly consistent from 2003 to 2007, the city experienced a 15 percent spike in crime from 2007 to 2008, which was mainly driven by increases in car thefts, burglaries, larcenies, aggravated assaults, and robberies. In 2009 there were just 2.1 Lowell Police Department (LPD) officers per 1,000 residents, well below the Northeast average of 2.9 officers per 1,000 residents. Faced with a growing crime problem, a decreasing budget and fewer sworn officers, the LPD obtained SPI funding in 2010 to implement place-based and offender-based problem-oriented policing strategies to target drug and drug-related crimes. The LPD felt that in this time of declining resources, the department could still strive to do more with less by identifying effective strategies, establishing clear goals and developing a detailed implementation plan.

Data Highlight

  • From 2008 to 2009, the Lowell Police Department (LPD) lost 10 percent of its sworn force through attrition. There were just 2.1 LPD officers per 1,000 residents, well below the Northeast average of 2.9 officers per 1,000 residents.
  • While the crime rate in Lowell was mostly consistent from 2003 to 2007, the city experienced a 15 percent spike in crime from 2007 to 2008, which was mainly driven by a 12 percent increase in car thefts, 14 percent increase in burglaries, and 21 percent increase in larcenies.