As he assessed the impact the case has had on the city over the past six years, Mayor Wladimiro Boccali also accused the media of sidelining Kercher in its coverage.
“We have always said that this tragedy must rest, above all, on the memory of a girl killed in a barbaric way, while in the media Meredith is often pushed to second place,” he told The Local.
Kercher was killed at her home in the city on November 1st 2007. Her housemate Amanda Knox, a 26-year-old American, and Raffaele Sollecito, Knox's ex-boyfriend, were first found guilty of the murder but were acquitted on appeal in 2011. The decision was then overturned earlier this year and the pair’s retrial begins on Monday.
Perugia has also been portrayed badly – and wrongly – according to Boccali.
“After the murder it was described, especially in the first weeks after the crime, in exacerbated tones which didn’t fit the truth. A murder that could have happened anywhere sparked off an aggressive press campaign which was without foundation."
While Boccali said Perugia has always been a safe city, efforts have been made to improve security. New measures are a result of the “strong sense of alarm” felt by residents after the crime, he added.
They include greater police presence in Perugia, while the council is also working more closely with citizens’ associations.
As a result, Boccali said “the city has succeeded in restoring its true image…[as] a beautiful city, rich in art and history."
But he is adamant that Kercher, who was on a year abroad as part of her degree, should not be forgotten.
“We wanted to establish, with the University for Foreigners, a scholarship dedicated to her."
The first scholarship, which helps a British student attend the University, was awarded in June.