Neighborhood near Five Points appeals to City Council after increase in vandalism
The university has constantly advised students to not walk back to their dorms from Five Points, but apparently it also needs to tell them not to urinate on private property along the way.
Residents of University Hill, a neighborhood bounded by Blossom and Gervais streets and between Five Points and campus, are angry because of an increase in vandalism they believe is caused by drunk college students, and they’ve taken their concerns to City Council.
“Things get out of hand in Five Points and people start coming up in our neighborhood, having [had] perhaps more than they should, but in any event they forget their manners and have been doing all types of things,” said Kathryn Fenner, the vice president of the University Hill Neighborhood Association.
Security camera footage and eyewitnesses suggest that college students are to blame, Fenner said.
By “all types of things,” Fenner is referring to instances of stolen property, damaged cars, knocked-over mailboxes and puddles of urine on front porches in Gibbes Green condominiums.
Fenner said one College Street resident has had his landscape lighting ripped out of yard many times and had his cement fountain stolen. It turned up in another resident’s yard.
“We’ve lived in this neighborhood 20-plus years and have never had the level of obnoxiousness and vandalism we have had since September 2010,” said Linda Edwards, another resident of College Street.
Edwards estimated her out-of-pocket expenses to replace damaged and stolen items at $1,500.
“They broke off the side mirror of our car,” Edwards said. “It was $850 just for the part.”
Edwards also had a 15-year-old, custom-made wooden planter stolen. She replaced it with a 300-pound concrete one.
“Maybe they got mad they couldn’t steal that, so that’s why they broke off the side mirror,” Edwards said.
While Fenner is not sure what is causing the recent increase in vandalism, she said that an increasingly harmful drinking culture may be to blame.
“You’ve got bars down there selling dollar drinks and you’ve got Four Lokos,” Fenner said. “Students are drinking a whole lot more — and worse stuff. You’ve got this culture of being crazy that feeds itself. It snowballs.”
In response to recent increases in violence in Five Points, the City Council is considering a 2 a.m. bar closing. A proposal to let bars stay open until 4 a.m. if they obey certain rules is currently being considered by the council.
Fenner, who is also a member of the city task force addressing the safety situation in the area, proposed the compromise that would allow bars to stay open until 4 a.m. only if they applied for a special permit.
“The permit basically requires them to do the sorts of things they should be doing to abide by state law anyway,” Fenner said.
Requirements would include hiring door security in certain numbers, purchasing liquor liability insurance and not over-serving patrons.
Fenner said her compromise could make bars so afraid of losing their permits that they’d raise their prices.
“You don’t have to drink 20 drinks in a night,” Fenner said. “Come on, you don’t have to be drinking dollar drinks.”
However, Fenner says she does understand that college students are looking for a deal.