Demon Town located in Jenrok — next to a cemetery and a major sports venue for the upcoming Micronesian Games — was once among the areas most vulnerable to sea level rise but has since turned into a hotspot for trouble.
It is a neighborhood with a high rate of youth unemployment, substance abuse among minors, and school dropouts. This is a similar reality to other urban neighborhoods on Majuro.
Loud music, fights, alcohol use, and kids and youth going out late at night have become normal occurrences for residents in the community. They claim that calling the police and getting involved in reporting disturbances in the small community is dangerous. Others say it is hard to trust the police.
One incident involved a young girl who was hit in the head with a chair by a young man in the town last Friday, causing a disturbance that resulted in a distress call being placed to the Majuro Local Police Department at around two in the morning. The suspect ran away to avoid arrest.
The grandfather of the victim pointed at another young man who was dating his girlfriend and sitting minding his own business. The police arrested him without asking him a single question. The young man’s grandmother saw what was happening and stepped in to ask the police officers to let her grandson go. The police were reluctant, but the victim confirmed that it wasn’t him. The police conceded and took off the handcuffs. Up until now, the police haven’t caught the culprit, according to an eyewitness.
In addition, dropouts who are not working and live in households where everything is provided for them, struggle to understand the value of self-reliance. Or if the dropout does get a job, instead of buying necessities for the survival of the family, the paycheck is used to buy alcoholic beverages or go on a spending spree with friends. Later, if all the money was spent, they return to their family members, begging for food and money.
These observations sum up the challenges of living in an urban community in the capital city on a daily basis.