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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Secret Victims, Secret Perps = No One Knows Anything

Phoenix police will begin withholding certain basic information on both victims and criminal suspects in reports released to the public, saying it's a way of curbing identity theft.

Personal identifying information such as names of injured victims, birth dates of criminals and the addresses where crimes are committed will be redacted completely from the written public record in some cases, officials said Wednesday.

City attorneys who advised the Police Department on the policy shift said the idea is to balance Arizona public-records law with a newer state statute that cites the government's obligation to secure residents from identity poachers.

Police public-information officers said they will immediately begin identifying criminal suspects by name, age and race only - not by date of birth, even if they are booked into jail. Victims' dates of birth also would be withheld.

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