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Army wives fear rising crime on Fort Bragg

Posted February 19, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

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— Some Army wives say crime on Fort Bragg has them scared.

Military police on post responded to about 400 crime calls from April to June last year, and that number jumped to about 600 between July and September before dropping back to about 420 between October and December. The numbers don't include calls for damage to or theft of government property.

Thefts showed the biggest spike, going from 39 last spring to 211 last summer and 149 last fall. The number of reported assaults and domestic calls remained stable during the three quarters of statistics, at about 80 assaults and 40 domestic calls each period.

Fort Bragg neighborhood watch sign Crime reports up on Fort Bragg

"I don't feel safe," said Jennifer Brown, whose garage was broken into while she was home alone with her children. "I'm afraid to let (the children) out in my fenced-in back yard right now because I don't know what's going to happen. I don't know who's walking around."

Some of Brown's neighbors, who declined to speak publicly, also have become crime victims. One had a back door kicked in, another moved out after having a bike and portable global-positioning satellite system stolen and a third came home to find a burglar in her garage.

The husbands of some of the neighbors are deployed overseas, she said.

Also, three registered sex offenders also live on post, at least one of whom is a soldier, and Brown said she and her neighbors have been told a gang operates in the area.

“When you move on post, you’re expecting to have a heightened level of security. You’re expecting your family will be a little safer than if you’re living out in the community, but that’s not happening,” Brown said.

Military police acknowledge theft is the biggest crime problem they face, but they said the numbers are down recently and are much lower than those off post.

“The overall crime trend on Fort Bragg is not bad overall. There’s no rampant crime on Fort Bragg whatsoever,” said Col. John Garrity, commander of the 16th Military Police Brigade. "I think it's more nuisance crime than anything else."

By comparison, Fayetteville police handled 13,480 property crimes last year and 1,630 violent crimes.

Military police aren't sure if soldiers are to blame for the crime on Fort Bragg, or whether people from the outside are coming on post. Garrity said.

"It's not a fortress. There are ways to come onto Fort Bragg," he said.

That fact alarms Brown, who said the "gated community" of an Army post doesn't seem to deter criminals.

“There are armed guards at every entrance, but it’s not that hard to get on post,” she said.

MPs have stepped up patrols in some neighborhoods on Fort Bragg, and they're revamping neighborhood watches and issuing fliers to residents when they notice trouble spots, Garrity said. Crimes also are routinely reported in Paraglide, the post newspaper, to make residents more aware of what's happening, he said.

“Society is society. We are a make-up of the society we serve. There are good soldiers and bad soldiers. Some live in the housing communities, and some live off post,” he said. "I think we're doing a pretty good job. I'm concerned residents have the perception that there's a crime problem."

7 Comments

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  • smalldogsrule Feb 20, 2:06 p.m.

    Armed guards at the gates are a JOKE. I say again J*O*K*E*!!!!!

    ANYONE can still get on base. all they have to do is consent to a vehicle search. Once on base, you can go pretty much anywhere you please. The gate guards and fences and closing bragg blvd are only FEEL GOOD measures to annoy the civilian populace.

  • mrsjlbrown Feb 20, 10:17 a.m.

    I was a bit offended at Garrity's assertion that a woman coming home to find a man rifling through her garage is nothing more than a "nuisance." And am I supposed to be relieved that the MPs don't KNOW who is committing these crimes? Does that mean they just don't care enough to investigate them, or they're not smart enough to figure it out? In the case of the burglarized garage, they DO know who did that- and the guy is STILL living on base. Why WOULDN'T criminals come on base to commit their crimes once they figure out they're going to get away with it? And OF COURSE crime is going to be down during the cold months. I want to see crime stats for the past three years overall.
    As for carrying a concealed weapon: it's against the law to carry a concealed weapon on base-- even if you have a permit.

  • stevesmiff Feb 20, 8:15 a.m.

    2 words ladies: concealed weapon.

  • ARCOP223 Feb 19, 8:29 p.m.

    To fix the problem, the PMO staff needs to go.

  • ezrilouwho Feb 19, 7:27 p.m.

    military police say crime on post is much lower than in the surrounding community.

    Mmmmm- I have driven through the surrounding community. I locked my doors every time so saying crime on post is lower than off post is not saying much.

  • hrizzuto2 Feb 19, 6:49 p.m.

    It's the people who move family from outside the base onto base while their husbands are deployed. This same thing happened to us while at fort hood. It wasn't until the base commander stepped up and said that we weren't allowed to have members that weren't married to military staying at our house. It proved fruitful as well because it turned out that the nieces and nephews of soldiers were doing the crime!

  • LibertarianTechie Feb 19, 5:30 p.m.

    Instead of having armed security guards that will let anyone through the gates, how about actual MPs and only those that have US Armed Forces ID.