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Impressive! Duke student says Durham residents don’t scare them anymore

DURHAM, NC—Like many of her peers, Marlene Anderson (Trinity ‘24) has been enjoying the Duke bubble and all its exclusivity ever since setting foot on campus. For two years, Anderson says she would avoid non-Duke property in the area as much as possible, making exceptions for Shooters II and Whole Foods.

“It’s super unsafe, like Chicago-level unsafe. The people around here just don’t respect students. I think people look at me and just, like, profile me as someone they can rob. I’m from around NYC, but I still feel scared.”

Anderson, who is from Ridgefield, Connecticut, thought she would never overcome her fear of Durham. A recent encounter, however, has changed Anderson’s mind.

“I was walking to Whole Foods, and this woman I’m assuming is homeless comes up to me. So I freeze up, of course, and start pulling out the pepper spray, but she just asks where my outfit’s from! She wasn’t actually homeless, she was just wearing vintage clothes. We got to talking, and it turns out there are a lot of cool people like her who recently moved to Durham. So there aren’t as many dangerous people living here. I don’t know, I guess the housing situation is improving.”

When asked about her opinions regarding gentrification, Anderson replied with a blank stare.



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