Murphy's Law: Fun With Numbers

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September 3, 2007: The U.S. Army has given more recruits a break, of late, by allowing otherwise qualified (physically and mentally) applicants to enlist, despite having a police record. These are called "moral waivers. In 2003, 4.6 percent of all recruits benefited from this. Last year, it was 7.9 percent. Some journalists believed this would lead to an increase in criminal activity on army bases, especially involving young guys who were in gangs before they joined the military. That would make a great headline.

This turned out to be the case. Last year, 16 of 10,000 criminal investigations were gang related. That's up from ten in 2005, five in 2004 and four in 2003. Last year, there were 61 gang related incidents in 18 army bases. There are believed to be several hundred soldiers who still maintain their gang affiliations. Not enough to be a real problem, but enough to get your editor off your back.

 


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