Phoenix, Arizona earned the title Â– Kidnapping Capital in the US when the city released its kidnapping statistics. An independent board of experts released their report on Wednesday of whether or not Phoenix really is the kidnapping capital.
In 2008 the city of Phoenix reported 358 kidnappings. As a result, the federal government gave Phoenix $1.7 million in grant money to combat the growing number of kidnappings. Last year Sergeant Phil Roberts wrote a series of memos stating there was a problem with the kidnapping statistics. No one investigated the numbers until it made headline news in August 2010.
Then the police began to defend their kidnapping statistics as accurate. Yes Phoenix is the kidnapping capital in the US – 358 people were kidnapped in 2008. No we did not inflate those numbers in order to get federal funding. Sergeant Roberts was transferred for blowing the whistle.
What did the independent board of experts find? Close to 38 percent of the 358 kidnappings in 2008 were not kidnappings. The board does not believe the inaccurate statistics were police error, but instead fault the twenty-year-old, out of date computing system the police use to compile the numbers.
Phoenix can still claim kidnapping capital because the panel of experts said there were other cases mis-classified in 2008. They believe Phoenix’s true kidnapping numbers in 2008 was 668: three hundred more than was reported to the federal government despite the inaccuracies.
Before the panel released its report, Chief of Police, Jack Harris, resigned. Now the media questions, Will anyone at the police department be held responsible for their inaction? They believe the former Chief of Police should have ordered an audit of the statistics when Sergeant Roberts first reported the problem. The city should concern itself on updating the computer program instead of fixing blame on someone. After all it looks like Phoenix’s title of kidnapping capital was well deserved.