“It’s just like driving at home where you have barriers beside the highway. It’s no different than that,” he said.
In some sections, the project simply improved on roadblocks that residents had already emplaced themselves, said 1st Lt. Jacob Allen, of New Kent, Va., a platoon leader with Company A. Allen also pointed out that the wall hasn’t restricted foot movement at all in the area.
“There are plenty of places to walk. What this has blocked off is movement of (vehicle-borne) explosives,” he said.
Brumfield said that despite the criticism of the project, his paratroopers are proud of what they accomplished.
“We’re exhausted. We’re tired of seeing the wall every night. But in the end, we did it. We were able to fight through the IEDs and the publicity and everything else and get it done,” Brumfield said.
“Now it’s time to step back and start looking at the statistics. We have to let time tell if it’s going to work,” he said.
So far, the results have been positive. Killings are down 61 percent in Adhamiyah between the beginning of April, when construction began, and May 28, when it ended, according to reports compiled by the 2nd BCT.
“Since we started building the wall, we’ve already seen a noticeable decrease in violence,” said Capt. Jared Purcell, of Lake Orion, Mich., the public affairs officer for 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, whose unit operates in the area. Purcell said his unit will continue to closely track the effects of the safe neighborhood project.
“We will be in the community with an ear open as to how people feel about the wall, as well as how it is improving security,” Purcell said. “We’re constantly going to be re-evaluating the wall to make sure it is providing maximum security with minimum disruptions to people’s lives.”