Despite Its Rep Perugia Was Always Quite A Nice Safe Place - And Now Is Becoming Even More-So

“Noir City”, the “Disneyland of Drugs”, “Drug-Dealing Capital”, a “Sex-and-Drugs La Dolce Vita” for university students, an “Ibiza in Italy”.

All these phrases, and more, have been used by the media to describe Perugia. A recent Porta-a-Porta report visually represented Perugia’s situation by showing images of Elisa Benedetti and Meredith Kercher, and using a mountain of ecstasy pills as an iconic motif.

The Mayor of Perugia Wladimiro Boccali has had enough of this media presentation of his beloved city and says that the multi-faceted problem is not restricted to just within Perugia’s Etruscan-age city walls, but affects all places everywhere.

In a long and powerful rebuke, he called the media to task for having replayed the “Meredith schema” in relation to the recent tragic events surrounding Elisa Benedetti.

In this age of global networking, no city is an island anymore.

Criminal activity may have been attracted to Perugia precisely because of its tranquillity, its quiet and rural setting, and the vibrant student dynamic of the city may possibly also be a contributing factor, but these are not the only ones.

The vast majority of students are not drug-addicts and alcoholics, and manage to have a good time on Fridays and Saturdays and arrive home safe and sound.

Yet where there is a supply of drugs, there is also a demand, and at the core of this lies an alienation and dissatisfaction that is the responsibility of everyone, families and authorities combined, to face up to and to deal with. Otherwise the self-destructive nihilistic consumerism so often adopted by today’s young people will lead, tragically, to only one possible outcome.

So, in response to this, and to facilitate a coordinated approach, Prefect Enrico Laudanna convened a round-table summit meeting in February.

Present were the heads of the various sectors of law enforcement and the civil authorities: the Quaestor (=Chief of Police), Sandro Federico, the Provincial Commanders of the Carabinieri, Carlo Corbinelli, of the Guardia di Finanza (=Financial Police), Vincenzo Tuzi, of the State Forest Corps, Giorgio Piastrelli.

Plus of course the Mayor of Perugia, Wladimiro Boccali, along with Province Vice-President Aviano Rossi, and the Regional Director of Health, Emilio Duca.

After having heard the various analyses and proposals put forward regarding the grounds, both of security and of the battle against drugs, the Prefect urged the “maximum commitment and undertaking in realising the identified solutions”, under the technical and practical coordination of the Chief of Police.

The tide continues to turn.

No one needs to feel that they are adrift and rudderless in the world. No one needs to remain an island any more.


“Elisa case: Boccali reacts to “˜Meredith schema’ “, Umbria24, 05 February 2011

Tommaso Bori’s blog

Perugia Notizie blog

Fabio Polese, Fomento blog

“Drugs and security in Perugia focus of Prefecture meeting”,  TuttOggi, 07 February 2011

Giuseppe Mascambruno, Quotidiano blog

Posted by catnip on 03/21/11 at 07:01 PM in

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Thanks so much Catnip. Perugia is a beautiful place, and doesn’t deserve to be villified. Drugs are everywhere, and schools and universities will always be prime targets. How distressing for the people who live there, who were born there, to become primarily associated with tragedy and drugs. I wish them buona fortuna.

Posted by capealadin on 03/21/11 at 07:58 PM | #

Alcohol and drugs are everywhere yet their vile influence can be overcome through just a little strength of mind and happiness, peace and safety allowed to flourish.

Posted by aethelred23 on 03/21/11 at 08:15 PM | #

I have long held the theory that A and R picked up some acid or similar hallucinogenic Halloween night, but did not take it until the next afternoon or evening. That may explain, in part, the phantasmagoric account A gave the police about “seeing” Patrick commit murder,(confused images, and so forth) and the inappropriate behavior at the police station.

Of course, such voluntary intoxication excuses nothing, but could shed light on many aspects of the crime, its violaence and the multiple alibis.

Posted by Ballard Guy on 03/22/11 at 03:53 AM | #

Hi Ballard Guy. That has been a very constant supposition. Maybe two years ago the media were all over us asking if we knew anything about crystal meth in Perugia as they were all picking up hints that was it and the symptoms are just as you described.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 03/22/11 at 04:20 AM | #

I haven’t been to Perugia but it appears to be much like any college or university town in the US or Canada.  Where there is a demand for drugs you will find a willing supply chain.

The facts are that there were no drug charges levelled against any of those convicted of Meredith’s murder.  This is significant because it’s not easy to conceal drug use from the authorities.  Any parent who’s gone through their kids’ pockets before doing the laundry would understand this.

Certainly some of the responsibility for encouraging students to seek drug or alcohol counseling lies with educational institutions.  Enforcement is difficult and expensive and there’s some debate about whether it even works.  Counseling and education, coupled with alternative extracurricular programmes, have been shown to occupy students’ idle time much more beneficially.

Posted by Stilicho on 03/22/11 at 11:30 AM | #

Stilicho: “The facts are that there were no drug charges levelled against any of those convicted of Meredith’s murder.”

So true. As bad as drug problems can be, very rarely do they lead people to violence or murder. And it’s the exception rather than the rule for the law to excuse bad behavior due to drug intoxication (“diminished capacity” in the US).

On the other hand, a role for drugs in motivation in this crime is possible. It doesn’t excuse, but it may help explain. I don’t think the drugs would have led to violence, however, unless Knox and Sollecito were already deeply disturbed individuals in a folie-a-deux kind of relationship.

Changing the subject a bit, I just saw the documentary LENNONYC. John Lennon was convicted of hashish possession in London and that’s the excuse the INS used to try to deport him. At one point, he explains how hash is very different from marijuana.

Posted by Earthling on 03/22/11 at 04:55 PM | #
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