Former Police Officer Says SDPD Not Reporting All Crimes
8:32 AM, Nov 17, 2005
San Diego is one of the safest big cities in the United States, 10News reported.And, since San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne has taken office, the city's crime rates have dropped.But are the improved crime rates based on innacurate statistics? Are officers ordered to look the other way and not report some crimes?Some people say that the San Diego Police Department is not reporting all of the crimes committed.After receiving complaints, 10News decided to take a closer look at the city's crime rates.Former El Cajon police officer Kevin LaChapelle, from the Special Investigations Agency, said, "In shift meetings, they're telling officers, 'Now don't forget -- unless you absolutely have to, try not to take any reports.'"LaChapelle said he has friends on the police force who say there's a deliberate effort to "under report" crime.But Lansdowne said LaChapelle is wrong.Even with a diminished police force, Lansdowne said San Diego has one of the lowest violent crime rates in the country."I give credit to this police department, and I intend to defend it when they are impuned unfairly and unjustly by statistics that are questionable," Lansdowne said.10News questioned LaChapelle's claims and looked for crime victims."Lisa" told 10News she was sexually assaulted by a man in Mission Valley as she walked to school.According to 10News, Lisa's attack was never recorded. Because there was no crime report, there was no follow-up investigation."They told me they were going to take the report. Then, later I found that they never did take a report," Lisa told 10News.Two weeks after Lisa was assaulted, police said a man raped two women.After seeing the sketch of the man, Lisa said if that if a goatee were added to the sketch, it would have looked just like the man who attacked her two weeks prior.Police have yet to find the man wanted for the attacks.Others have come forward saying that they are the victims of crimes where no police report exists."As soon as I stepped out of my car, he started striking me," said "Jose," who was attacked in Mid-City.No police report was filed for the attack, 10News reported.The same is true after a boy was robbed at knifepoint."(The police) just looked at me and said, 'Well, it's kind of late now. There's not much we can do,'" said the boy.Even a shopping center security guard said it is common practice to not file reports.He said he has called police and no reports were filed or arrests made."Very rarely do they take someone into custody," the security guard said.10News looked at the numbers.In 2004, San Diego police officers were sent on more than 670,000 calls. However, they only took reports on less than 8 percent of those calls.The Los Angeles Police Department and the San Diego County Sheriff's Department reports crimes at more than twice the rate of the SDPD.In Los Angeles, 21 percent of dispatched calls resulted in crime reports and the San Diego County Sheriff's Department filed crime reports 23 percent of the time.According to 10News, the rate of car thefts in San Diego has gone up, and is the only major crime to increase."Why is it that auto theft has increased, while everything else has decreased? Because auto theft is the only crime report that there's absolutely no way of getting out of it," LaChapelle said.Landsdowne is adamant that he never told officers not to report or respond to crimes.