For several years, Buckeye, Arizona has reveled in its claim that it is the safest city in the Valley, if not in all of Arizona. In particular, the city has reported to the FBI (and to the public) extremely low violent crime numbers. City officials claimed that they were simply using the FBI categorization of these crimes. For purposes of Uniform Crime Reporting (used by the FBI), violent crimes consist of murder, non-negligent manslaughter, robbery, aggravated assault, and sexual assault.
Until recently, city officials have denied that there were any irregularities in their reporting. That all changed when an anonymous letter purportedly drafted by Buckeye Police Department employees challenged the numbers being put forth by the department, and went so far as to call the acts “criminal offenses” which included the falsifying of statistics.
An investigation was launched into various aspects of the crime stats, including allegations that certain offenses were “exempted” from the reported statistics, crimes that were “under-classified,” and dozens of violent crime arrests that were never included in the reports put together by the city. Some examples include aggravated assaults that were “downgraded” to simple assaults so that they were not required to be included in the reports, and numerous violent crimes that were just left out of the report altogether. Last year the items included, among others:
- A firefighter who was punched by his girlfriend’s estranged husband. The firefighter was hit in the face and suffered a broken nose, a broken eye socket, and required plastic surgery. The crime was not included in the Buckeye report.
- A man strangled a woman until she lost consciousness, after punching her in the face. Not included in the Buckeye report.
- A man punched his roommate and then held a knife to the man’s throat and threatened to kill him. Not included in the Buckeye report.
These were not the only irregularities cited. Others included a number of sexual assaults that were not included in the statistics
After a period of denying the claims made in the letter, Buckeye officials have backed off on their stance that the crime statistics previously furnished to the public and to the FBI are accurate.
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