Nov 6, 2007

Sitrep Improves south of Baghdad

Crime in Mada’in Qada Drops, Matches Iraq Trend
From Maj. Joe Sowers, 3rd HBCT, 3rd Inf. Div.

FORWARD OPERATING BASE HAMMER, Iraq – Officers in the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division completed an analysis Nov. 2 of local crime statistics in the Mada’in Qada, an area southeast of Baghdad, following a recent decrease in violent crimes.

This study matches a trend across Iraq reported by the Washington Post and the New York Times.

Capt. Colin Donlin, from Jonesboro, Ga., a staff officer with the 3rd HBCT, conducted the study. He analyzed crime statistics reported by the six Iraqi police stations in the Mada’in Qada. The Mada’in Qada is a portion of the Baghdad province and is home to almost 900,000 Iraqis, both Sunni and Shia.

“Our studies have shown a distinct decrease in violent crime since the introduction of the Hammer Brigade into the Mada’in Qada,” Donlin said. “We are optimistic this trend will continue with the increased capability of the Iraqi Security Forces and Concerned Local Citizens. These statistics are a great measure of effectiveness of our goal to secure the population of the qada.”

One of the most striking declines was reported homicides. Iraqi police from the qada reported eight murders in October. This marks a sharp decline from the monthly average of more than 21 murders. The study did illuminate spikes of homicides in May and September, numbering 37 and 29 respectively.

Estimating that homicides will occur at the same monthly rate for the remainder of the calendar year, the 3rd HBCT expects to see the qada’s total reported homicides for the year at approximately 245. This would be less than half of the 2006 total of 631.

Murders increased dramatically during 2006 following the bombing of the Golden Dome Mosque in Samarra, yet estimated totals for 2007 are still lower than the 2005 total of 355 reported homicides.

Capt. Elizabeth Cain, from Wynnewood, Pa., commander, 59th Military Police Company, Fort Carson, Colo., attributes the decline to the improved performance of the Iraqi police.

“Now the Iraqi police are better trained, better equipped, and now have leadership that is knowledgeable, as well as confident,” Cain said. “This results in more IPs doing their job and doing it well.”

Cain’s company assists in the development of the local police forces of the qada. Currently, more than 900 Iraqi police patrol the qada and man its six police stations.

“The police now have a better understanding of investigative techniques and how to put a case together with proper evidence collection,” Cain said. “The IPs understand how to maintain the integrity of a crime scene and build a case. More people now get convicted and go to jail, therefore dispelling a climate of lawlessness. Your average person doesn’t commit a crime if they don’t believe they’re going to get away with it.”

The study also showed a slight decrease in the number of reported kidnappings in the qada. There were 13 reported kidnappings in October, slightly below the monthly average of 13.6.

“Due to numerous factors – the surge, the development of 1,500 concerned citizens, the Sadr ceasefire and gradual improvements made by the Iraqi police – murders continue to decline here in the Mada’in,” said Maj. Dave Fivecoat, from Delaware, Ohio, 3rd HBCT operations officer. “Over the coming months, we’ll continue to work with the IPs and concerned citizens to try and sustain this trend.”

The 3rd HBCT, 3rd Inf. Div., is from Fort Benning, Ga., and has been deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom since March.

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