Criminal Justice

Army, Newspaper Examine Brigade's High Crime Rate After Return from Iraq

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A Colorado newspaper has investigated the crime rates of a U.S. Army unit once deployed to Iraq, finding that some members were responsible for a crime wave that triggered the launch of a military task force to examine the issue.

The Washington Post reports that the Fort Carson, Colo., combat brigade soldiers returning from Iraq “exhibited an exceptionally high rate of criminal behavior in their home towns, carrying out a string of killings and other offenses that the ex-soldiers attribute to lax discipline and episodes of indiscriminate killing during their grueling deployment.”

The findings reported by the Post are from a six-month investigation by the Colorado Springs Gazette, which quotes soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division’s 4th Brigade as saying that the “brutal conditions in Iraq from 2004 to 2007 and the Army’s failure to provide proper treatment for stress were in part to blame for the incidents of rape, domestic abuse, shootings, stabbings, kidnappings and suicide.”

According to the Post, 10 of the brigade’s members committed or attempted to commit homicides after returning home, a rate reportedly 114 times the murder rate in Colorado Springs, which is adjacent to the unit’s base.

An Army task force examining eight of the homicides affirmed in a report this month that “combat exposure/intensity, leadership, and barriers to seeking care” may have increased the risks of “negative outcomes” for ex-soldiers, the newspapers report.

Also see:

Colorado Springs Gazette: “Casualties of War, Part I: The hell of war comes home”

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