Oakland, San Diego have highest numbers of untested rape kits: AG audit

FILE ART - Rape kit

An audit by the office of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra found that nearly 1,200 untested rape kits at the Oakland Police Department, the second-highest of any other police department in California. 

Oakland had 1,156 untested rape kits and San Diego had 1,657, the audit found. The lion's share of both cases occurred before 2015, the audit found.

To compare, the Los Angeles Police Department only had 489 cases.

Oakland police spokesman Paul Chambers told KTVU that a majority of the kits were linked to reports before 2006. 

Chambers said Oakland’s own internal review found that 957 of the 1,197 cases had “legitimate, articulated and documented reasons as to why the kit was not tested.”

Since then, Oakland has only had 41 untested kits and San Diego did not list a date for any of their testing, according to the 24-page "Statewide Audit of Untested Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Kits 2020 Report to the Legislature" issued in April. 

However, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley was surprised at the number.

In 2014, O'Malley spearheaded an effort to collect and test all backlogged rape kits countywide.

"It's just a big surprise that all of a sudden there's all these kits," said O'Malley, adding the sheer number of unprocessed kits had never before been revealed by Oakland police.

The prosecutor said she wants all the kits tested.

The audit was produced as a result of AB3118, a 2018 law that required a one-time review of all untested rape kits held by California law enforcement agencies, medical centers and crime labs, as well as other facilities.

Until this point, researchers said, the existence of an untested rape kit backlog in California was “generally unquestioned,” but the exact scope was unknown. The lack of data “posed challenges for policymakers who must decide how best to address the backlog,” the report states.

Elsewhere in the Bay Area, auditors found 841 untested kits at the Richmond Police Department, 255 at the Fairfield Police Department and 323 reported at the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office. Redwood City police reported 138 untested kids and the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office reported 89.

Several cities reported zero untested kits, including San Francisco and Berkeley.