An Uptown Safety Task force was established by the City of Greenville last year to address common issues that occur downtown.

At the meeting chief of police Mark Holtzman said there are 16 officers downtown, who are taken off units in other areas of town such as the gang unit and neighborhood patrol. These officers must be paid overtime.

After the weekend is over, Public Works is left cleaning up the mess left from public urination and littering. Parking must be patrolled as many people double park, park for too long and fights break out in parking lots.

Solutions to these problems were to hire ambassadors to patrol parking lots and alert officers if there were fights or shots fired in parking lots, adding portable bathrooms to prevent public urination and charge for parking at night so people take ownership over their vehicles and what happens in parking garages.

While the behavior of those who go downtown cost the city, East Carolina University Students should not take the blame. The downtown attracts a variety of people. It attracts alumni, locals, students and their friends.

ECU attracts people to Greenville. Alumni and Pirate fans come from all over for game days and when the game ends, find their way downtown. Long time residents of Greenville find the downtown a fun place to hangout too.

ECU students are far from the only people who inhabit downtown after midnight. While it’s easy to place the blame on the almost 30,000 students who invade the city from August until May, downtown still has nightlife without them.

Greenville hosts many events for families and it is a very family friendly town but it also is home to a college with almost 30,000 students. As students return and Greenvilles nightlife increases exponentially, more police will be needed to patrol the downtown area.

The city must acknowledge that students are citizens of Greenville too. They cannot be singled out or treated as if they’re responsible for all of the problems downtown.

ECU students are what makes Greenville, Greenville. They are who show up to the games, keep local shops in business, eat at local restaurants and buy their groceries from local stores.

These are 30,000 people who also call Greenville home from August to May. They may not be the shining members of society that bring their dog and three kids to the Umbrella Market every Wednesday, but they’re the people who keep the local bars and nightclubs open.

These students should be held accountable for their actions, but they contribute to Greenville’s economy and the future of Greenville. These students keep your businesses' doors open now and many of them decide to stay after they graduate.

A few more cops may have to patrol downtown and portable bathrooms may have to be installed, but ECU students are the future of Greenville and in no way should be viewed as a nuisance.

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