Drunk students better than dead students

When I arrived at Duke back in the fall of 1998, I was told that the area around East Campus was not safe. Years later, as a graduate student I bought a house in Walltown. I now am wiser about the area, but Duke University and the students who attend it are not.

On Aug. 23 we see a story all about DUPD breaking up parties and enraged neighbors whose two year old children cannot sleep.

Why did nobody ask the head of the Trinity Heights Neighborhood Association or the Walltown Neighborhood Association for comments on the situation? I’m sure they would both tell you exactly what I will tell you (although with different words): Drunk students are better than dead students. In the neighborhoods surrounding East Campus we have a steady stream of violence and drug dealing. These police officers can provide us with greater safety and hopefully help continue to do the good work of cleaning up the area around East.

The priority of most in this neighborhood is not Duke students. It’s safety for their own families and trying to rebuild this community.

So the next time you think about the problems off of East and get a quote from a neighbor, temper it with the fact that most of my neighbors want to see that 14-year-old on the corner start going to school again and stop selling drugs. Or that they just want to be able to go for a walk at night without having to avoid certain blocks. Or that they won’t have to worry about witnessing a murder or finding a dead body in their backyard.

I’ll accept drunk students screaming obscenities at me and peeing on my lawn, but I won’t accept watching my neighbors live in fear. Duke University, take back the neighborhoods that surround you from the violence and the drugs, then worry about frat boys chugging 40s.


Jeremy Block

Grad ’10


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