In 2009, PLEA and others on the department sounded the alarm regarding questionable kidnapping statistics after the department had repeatedly reported that there were 358 kidnappings in the City of Phoenix in 2008. That number was subsequently used to secure Federal Grant monies.
This same number was trumpeted by then Phoenix Public Safety Manager Jack Harris and then Mayor Phil Gordon when testifying before Congressional committees. As a result of the controversy that ensued, The Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General conducted a formal audit and investigation of the PPD’s reported kidnap statistics.
On March 7, 2012, the OIG released their official findings re: the PPD’s kidnapping statistics. In one segment of the OIG report they found that of the 368 incidents [their number] reported only 195 or 54% should have been classified as kidnappings for crime reporting purposes.
In the real world, 54% equates to a letter grade of an “F”.
The PPD then brought a Lieutenant in to PSB for the express purpose of looking under the rugs and checking all of the department’s broom closets to see how many more kidnap reports could be shaken loose.
The department managed to scrape up an additional 175 reports that they believed could be classified as kidnappings. Of those reports the OIG determined that 150 or 86% of the additional cases had the elements of kidnapping in them. The OIG then went on to state that many of those cases would not qualify as kidnapping under federal crime reporting guidelines.
The grant monies received by the PPD were given to fund Operation Home Defense ($1.7M) and Operation Eagle Eye ($.7M). The purpose of the grants was to combat border related crime, specifically home invasions and kidnappings.
There is no doubt that Phoenix was suffering from a serious home invasion and kidnapping problem during this time period. However, in all reality only about 50 of the kidnappings reported during this time period could have been reasonably tied border related criminal activity.
PLEA has followed and reported on this issue since 2008. To see all of the related stories on the PLEA website, type the keyword kidnapping into the search box of the website.
CLICK HERE to see the complete copy of the OIG Auditors report.