Phoenix Law Enforcement Association

Phoenix Kidnapping Timeline

Out of the 358 border related kidnapping reports presented by Phoenix Police management, PLEA was provided, through a public records request, with 260.  Out of the 260 reports, 205 were NOT border related.  78% of the reports presented by the PPD to obtain federal grant money related to border violence and kidnapping were NOT border related.  We are waiting for the remaining 98 reports.  Included in this packet is a sample of 45 reports which are part of the border related kidnapping list.  These 45, and others like them, were NOT border related at all and thus should NOT have been presented to Congress, council, or the media in the border related kidnapping list.

CLICK HERE to read the related news report from the Arizona Republic.

Jack Harris and Sgt. John Wals applied for federal grant funding on April 15, 2009, in the amount of $747,845 – SEE ATTACHED

  • “The City of Phoenix was recently designated the ‘Kidnapping Capital’ of the United States and is only second worldwide in these crimes to Mexico City.”
  • Phoenix ranks first in the nation for kidnappings and second worldwide only to Mexico City.  In 2008…kidnappings topped 300.”
  • “Media headlines naming Phoenix the kidnapping capital of the nation are detrimental to our community.”
  • “The Phoenix Police Department has experienced the severity of this situation first hand; our city ranks first in the nation for the number of kidnapping incidents, second worldwide only to Mexico City.”

Jack Harris and Lt. Laurel Burgett applied for federal grant funding on April 23, 2009 in the amount of $1,745,329 – SEE ATTACHED

  • Statement of the Problem:  The City of Phoenix is considered the ‘Kidnapping Capital of America’ and is second only worldwide to Mexico City for these crimes.  The United States Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held a field hearing in Phoenix on April 20, 2009, for the purpose of discussing the dramatic increase in border-related violent crime that has spilled into Phoenix.”
  • “In 2008 alone, kidnappings increased 16.2% topping over 300 incidents.  Averaging more than one per day…”
  • These numbers demonstrate a significant crime issue unique to Phoenix.”
  • “…sophisticated and organized groups are perpetrating these crimes.”
  • “….these border-related crimes are being committed throughout Phoenix…”
  • “To effectively address these border-related issues in the community, specialized equipment and personnel resources are needed.”
  • “The paramount goal of ‘Home Defense’ will be to aggressively pursue violent criminals engaged in border-related crimes.”
  • “Overall, the goal is to reduce the number of these specific border-related crimes.”

Jack Harris testified to Congress on April 20, 2009 –SEE ATTACHED

  • “However, border related crime and violence is affecting our community.”
  • “In 2008 there were 368 kidnappings….in Phoenix.”
  • “This problem has garnered the attention of the world.”
  • “The majority of the victims of kidnappings and home invasions are involved directly or indirectly with drug or human smuggling.”
  • “The officers I need to assign to combat the problem of border violence are a valuable resource that I have had to pull off their regular duties throughout the department.”
  • “…the problem of border violence will continue….we cannot deal with this problem without the help of the federal government.”
  • “…we need federal funding so that we can staff the squads and teams to deal with these violent and deadly crimes.”
  • Border violence is a national problem.  We are a local agency dealing with the symptoms which are spilling into our streets.”

Phil Gordon testified to Congress on April 20, 2009 – SEE ATTACHED

  • “…encourage the funding…”
  • People are being kidnapped.  Almost every night, Phoenix Police will get one or more calls with variations of the same story – ‘My wife is being held in a Phoenix drop house and they say they will torture and kill her if we don’t pay them thousands of dollars.’”
  • “For each one of those calls, Phoenix will divert significant resources on the spot – as many as 60 officers – to find, rescue and protect these kidnap victims.”
  • “As mayor, I respectively urge this Subcommittee to support not just continuing- but increasing – funding to our federal partners in Arizona.”
  • “If you have even one dollar to invest – this is where it will have an immediate impact.”
  • “I will sign a contact with you guaranteeing to use every cent of every dollar in the most effective way possible.”

The Phoenix Police Department responded to the media ref. allegations of false kidnapping numbers on August 23, 2010 –SEE ATTACHED 

  • “…accusations that the numbers have been intentionally inflated.  This is untrue.”
  • “The reports also break out incidents marked as ‘information only’ which are marked as such for a variety of reasons.”
  • “Kidnappings such as domestic violence and sexually motivated incidents are reported separately.”

Jack Harris and Ed Zuercher notified the City Council via an August 25, 2010, memo explaining the 2008 kidnapping numbers – SEE ATTACHED

  • “…accusations that the [kidnapping] numbers have been intentionally inflated.”
  • “The reports also break out incidents marked as ‘information only’
  • “…in 2008 a total of 358 kidnapping reports were recorded as assigned to VCBR, HIKE, or IMPACT…”
  • “…domestic violence and sexually motivated incidents are reported separately.”

On October 12, 2010 Judicial Watch receives list of kidnapping reports in Phoenix from 2008 – the number is 358 and all the reports are entitled “kidnapping.” – SEE ATTACHED

The City Manager and Assistant City Manager (Ed Zuercher) address in a letter dated December 15, 2010 a report questioning the accuracy of the kidnapping numbers – SEE ATTACHED

  • “…we have verified several times the accuracy of the kidnapping statistics generated by  the Phoenix Police Department.”

With this information in mind, when examining the 358 DRs entitled by the Department as “kidnapping” and presented by the Department to the federal government, the City Council, and the media, one needs to ask the following questions:

  1. Is this crime unique to Phoenix or could it happen in any other town?
  2. Is this crime sexually motivated?
  3. Did this crime happen in Phoenix?
  4. Was it committed by a sophisticated organization?
  5. Does this crime involve domestic violence?
  6. Is there a victim?
  7. Is there a victim/hostage rescue?
  8. Is the report listed as “information only?”
  9. Is there a ransom asked for?
  10. Is there a connection to border violence?
  11. Does it involve a drop house?
  12. Did patrol take disposition on the call?