New questions from PHX kidnapping report

PHOENIX - New statistics from the Phoenix Police Department paint a conflicting picture of Phoenix kidnapping statistics.

A panel reviewing the 2008 statistics said Wednesday that many crimes were never included in the original numbers.

Because of that, according to the panel, there were actually 668 kidnappings in 2008, almost double the 358 the city had reported earlier.

"Phoenix did have a significant kidnapping problem," said Karen Thoreson, the panel's chair.

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The panel was created after an ABC15 investigation found nearly 40% of cases originally reported as kidnappings in 2008 weren't kidnappings.

On Wednesday, the panel met for the final time and released a report of their findings.

Authorities said they found the extra kidnapping numbers by going through thousands of other crime reports.

Crime experts tell us that may be double dipping on police statistics and may go against national crime reporting guidelines.

But the panel and the city says it's proof there was no fraud behind their kidnapping statistics.

"We did find there was nothing intentionally done," Phoenix City Manager David Cavazos said. "We're pleased to hear that."

But the underreporting does raise concerns about the rest of Phoenix Police statistics.

The panel recommended that the city review other crimes for accuracy and update its bookkeeping methods immediately.

"We found management made mistakes, people on the line made mistakes. There were mistakes all the way through," Thoreson said.

Phoenix Police rely on a statistic keeping program called PACE. And officials have continually blamed the age of the computer system as the source of their problems.

Police officials were not available for comment after the panel's meeting.

There's also a federal investigation that's underway to look into the kidnapping numbers.

Officials from the Department of Justice Office have been in Phoenix at least three times. So far, they have not commented on their case.

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