by Sandra Harris/KTAR (August 19th, 2009 @ 7:33am)
PHOENIX — The kidnapping of two young children followed by the arrest of their mother on drug charges illustrates one reason that Phoenix is dubbed the “kidnapping capital of America,” according to Phoenix Police Chief Jack Harris.
Harris said the title is not unfair — that it’s really accurate — but, “I think what needs to be clarified is who are the victims of these home invasions and kidnappings. It is not the average person that somebody is coming up and kicking the door in.”
Phoenix has had more than 300 kidnappings and more than 300 home invasions a year over about the last two years and the numbers probably aren’t going to be much lower this year, Harris said, adding the city will have a hard time shaking the “kidnapping capital” title.
“I doubt if that title will ever change, once something like that has been attached to your organization,” said Harris.
While groups of dangerous thugs are operating in Phoenix, Harris said, “If you’re not involved in human smuggling, you’re not a gangster and you’re not a drug dealer, the chances of you getting kidnapped or your home being invaded are minimal.”
Harris noted a special task force is working on the kidnappings — most involved with drug dealing or human smuggling — and said, “What I hope is going to happen is that, over a period of time, the people who are involved in these kinds of crimes are going to say, ‘Stay away from Phoenix, you’re going to get caught and you’re going to get
The mother of a 2-year-old and 11-month-old who were taken from their west Phoenix home early Wednesday was arrested hours later on drug possession charges after police said they found three pounds of methamphetamine in her house. Police were still looking for the four kidnappers and said they were not sure whether the suspects might have had dealings with the mother and her live-in boyfriend.