Phoenix police did not audit kidnapping statistics

PHOENIX - Phoenix police did not specifically audit kidnapping statistics in the past, contradicting several statements and interviews made to the media, public and city officials.

"This really bothers me," City Councilman Sal Diciccio said. "On several separate occasions, the public was told that these were reviewed and it all came out fine."

One month ago, an ABC15 investigation uncovered major mistakes in the city's 2008 kidnapping statistics.

During our investigation, police leaders said they had fully reviewed the numbers "multiple times" and "audited" them before.

However, police can't produce any records or documents to prove a previous audit.

And last week, several top department officials also admitted they did never fully check the numbers.

"There was no reason to suspect anything was misaligned," Assistant Chief Jim Pina said at the meeting. "So nobody to my knowledge sat down and read every single report."

A current review found that almost 40 percent of kidnapping statistics reported for 2008 were inaccurate.

But for months, police spokesmen told ABC15 otherwise.

"We've reviewed the numbers multiple times," Commander Chuck Miller said Dec. 21, 2010. "What's important to remember is that these kidnappings were already audited in August or September of this year.

"We stand by the numbers," he said.

Police leaders, including Public Safety Manager Jack Harris, also wrote several statements, letters and e-mails. And at least five times, they said the statistics were accurate and that they had been verified multiple times.

On Feb. 28, we submitted a public records request with the Phoenix Police Department asking for every record and document related to previous audits of the 2008 kidnapping statistics.

Last week, police sent a response saying those records and documents "do not exist."

Police said detectives and analysts had reviewed the kidnapping reports but it was done for intelligence gathering. That also reflects what a top Phoenix police statistician told the panel.

"They weren't doing an audit, per se," Connie Kostelac said. "So they weren't looking to say this is absolutely a kidnapping."

Phoenix police have declined to comment for this story.

This is the latest report of an ABC15 Investigation to uncover the truth behind Phoenix's kidnapping statistics. To see the full investigation, click here.

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