Seems to me I’ve read or heard reports like this before. This one comes from the Army Times, reporter Michelle Tan here.
Here are some key paragraphs. They could stand as object lessons in the tendentious use of statistics.
The FBI report said that since 2004, authorities have identified more than 40 military-affiliated Folk Nation gang members at Fort Bliss, Texas, who have been involved in drug distribution, robberies, assaults, weapons offenses and a homicide. Since 2003, nearly 40 gang members have been identified at Fort Hood, Texas, and members of the Gangster Disciples based on post have been responsible for robberies, assaults, thefts and burglaries, according to the report. In addition, nearly 130 gang and extremist group members have been identified at Fort Lewis, Wash., since 2005, and in 2006, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service reported that gang members are increasing their presence on or near U.S. military installations.
The commanders of CID, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and the Naval Criminal Investigation Service sent a memo to the director of the FBI to dispute some of the statistics and facts in its Jan. 12 report.
A CID official said that just 16 of 10,000 felony investigations last year were gang-related. But that’s up from 10 in 2005, five in 2004 and four in 2003. In all, CID special agents reported 61 gang-related incidents on 18 Army installations in 2006. That number includes the 16 that warranted the investigations reported that same year. There were 23 incidents in 2005, nine in 2004 and 12 in 2003.
The Army Times story links to both the FBI and CID reports. But I know from some personal experience that the Army Times is more like a newspaper than like the Army — its biases are firmly in place. So it rouses my suspicions that actual reported gang related crime is so low, while “gang members” have been “identified” in such high numbers. The Army is known, after all, for turning men’s lives around.
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