Oxnard Police Chief confirms rapes may be higher than reported

troche arial, story sans-serif; font-size: 12pt;”>By Scott Whitney, dosage September 21, 2016

Mayor, Mayor Pro Tem, and Councilmembers:OxnardRape

A recent article by Buzzfeed News titled “When Detectives Dismiss Rape Reports Before Investigating Them” was brought to our attention by multiple sources. In this article, Oxnard was listed as having the highest percentage (54%) of unfounded sexual assault cases in the country. I can tell you that we were shocked when we saw that figure and we immediately knew there was something wrong.

The Family Protection Unit (FPU) at the Oxnard Police Department consists of six (6) investigators and a supervisor. The FPU is tasked with investigating sexual assaults in addition to domestic violence, crimes against children, and crimes against the elderly. We have a robust and professional unit and have historically been leaders in the county in investigating domestic violence, child pornography, and the utilization of multi-disciplinary interviews.

Upon receiving the Buzzfeed article, we immediately began an internal inquiry into the issue and quickly found that a reporting error coupled with a new Records Management System (RMS) was artificially inflating the number of unfounded cases. Every report of a sexual assault is thoroughly investigated by our FPU and all investigative means are exhausted. Many sexual assault cases, after being investigated, were improperly being classified as “Unfounded” instead of being classified as “Suspended.”

The headline in the article stating “…a year of “unfounded” rapes in Baltimore County reveals that detectives often don’t investigate them at all” is not representative of how we do business in Oxnard. I’m confident that we thoroughly investigate each reported case of a sexual assault. This article did bring to light a reporting issue that we have been able to identify and address.

Please feel free to contact me with any further questions or concerns.

Thanks,

Scott Whitney

Oxnard Chief of Police


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Tom
Tom
4 years ago

The FBI provides a template for use by the police to record violent and property crimes. The template has the following fields.

Col 1 CLASSIFICATION OF OFFENSES
Col 2 Offenses reported or known to police (Include “unfounded” and attempts)
Col 3 Unfounded, i.e., false or baseless complaints
Col 4 Number of actual Offenses (Column 2 minus Column 3) (Include attempts)
Col 5Total offenses cleared by arrest or exceptional means (Include column 6)
Col 6 Number of clearances involving only persons under 18 years of age

Has Oxnard been misclassifying crimes other than rape as unfounded?

https://ucr.fbi.gov/nibrs/summary-reporting-system-srs-user-manual