SEOUL — An off-post increase in the number of "incidents of indiscipline" in the first five months under a shorter weekend curfew convinced U.S. Forces Korea commander Gen. Walter Sharp to schedule a Saturday morning training session later this month.

The number of on-post discipline problems decreased slightly during the same period, USFK spokesman Dave Palmer said this week in response to a Stars and Stripes request for the data Sharp used to evaluate the new curfew.

Sharp wrote in an April 1 "Sharp Point" message on USFK’s Web site that there had been a steady rise in behavior problems after he changed the weekend curfew. He compared the number of incidents between September 2008 and January 2009 with the number of incidents from the same period a year earlier.

USFK said statistics on those incidents — including what they were, how many and where they occurred — were "for official use only" and would not be released to Stripes. USFK spokeswoman Col. Jane Crichton would not elaborate further Tuesday.

Because of the rise in violence, Sharp is placing all USFK troops under a 10 p.m. curfew on April 24 that lasts until 5 a.m. the next morning. On April 25, troops are required to attend a four-hour stand-down for training on behavior issues and standards.

If behavior doesn’t improve, Sharp will consider revising the current curfew.

The general in August shortened the weekend curfew to two hours — requiring troops to be indoors from 3 to 5 a.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and U.S.-observed holidays. The previous weekend curfew was 1 to 5 a.m.

The weeknight curfew is midnight.

"The stand down is meant to focus everyone on correcting this trend now, so that we do not have to change the curfew in the future," USFK spokesman Dave Palmer wrote in an e-mail to Stripes.

The general wrote in his "Sharp Point" message that "the numbers of acts of sexual assaults, aggravated assaults, assaults and disorderly conduct have increased over the six months since last August when the relaxed curfew was put in effect."

Palmer, however, told Stripes this week that the number of sexual assaults had remained stable. He said on Tuesday that Sharp’s statement was meant to be an all-encompassing remark about the rising trend of discipline problems. Overall, the number of violent incidents has increased, Palmer said.

When Sharp announced last summer that he was changing the curfew, he said he would reassess it in six months.

Palmer said the number of people arriving late on base has increased since the curfew was shortened.

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