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Crimes by GIís down by 50% in Okinawa

Date Posted: 2005-02-25

U.S. service members stationed on Okinawa committed about half the crimes in 2004 as in the prior year.

A new report says 72 individuals assigned as part of the U.S. forces, were arrested or are now facing criminal charges in connection with 59 crimes. Those individuals are a combination of servicemen, civilians working on the bases, and family members.

Okinawa Prefectural Police say the crime count in 2003 was 112, 53 higher than last year.

Several theories are accounting for the decrease. One factor contributing to the decline in the number of crimes committed by U.S. soldiers was a crime preventive program implemented by the Marine Corps. Marines below certain ranks have been banned from going out from their bases between midnight and 5 a.m. since June last year.

The other significant factor was fewer GIís on the island. Thousands of military personnel have been deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and other temporary duty points during the year. In 2004, a total of 72 people - American servicemen, workers at bases, and their family members - were arrested or faced charges for committing 59 crimes in the southernmost prefecture.

About one third of the 16,000 U.S. Marines based in Okinawa have now been sent to Iraq, and more than 40 of 56 helicopters were mobilized to Iraq from Futenma Air Station.

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