A spate of high-profile violent crimes committed by Fort Drum, N.Y. soldiers, is being blamed on an increase in population and not combat stress, the Watertown Times reports.
A rogue’s gallery of soldiers have been arrested in connection with break-ins, robberies, shootings and murder in recent months. Perhaps the ugliest of them all was the arrest of Spc. Jeffrey A. Sliker, charged with murder in the death of the 4-month-old baby he and his wife were adopting. Sliker had returned roughly a year earlier from a yearlong deployment to Iraq, where he was awarded a Purple Heart for injuries suffered in an IED attack.
The rate of violent crime in the Jefferson County, which surrounds Drum, matches what it was eight years ago. It was 181.8 per 100,000 people in 2003; it spiked to 260.7 in 2005; and it has fallen steadily to 182 last year.
As the community struggles with gaps in behavioral health care for soldiers, Jefferson County Sheriff John P. Burns said some may be falling through the cracks. His deputies often deal with soldiers who seem to have trouble adjusting from deployments.
“They really need to be debriefed further to get them back … in the community,” he told the Watertown Times. “With the added help, that certainly shouldn’t be a problem.”
Tell us: Where you are, do you see a relationship between gaps in behavioral health care, PTSD, and soldiers committing crimes?
[via Watertown Times]