Press release from City of Asheville
Due to a number of incidents impacting public safety, the City of Asheville is taking targeted steps to address the rise of crime especially in downtown Asheville. There are complex circumstances contributing to the safety issues that Asheville is currently seeing downtown and it will take a community response to address these complexities. Multiple City departments are coordinating a City government response and we also need participation from community leaders and partners to address all the factors contributing to the rise in crime.
In response, the City is rolling out a 60-day initiative to address safety downtown starting May 1, 2023.
“Our efforts in downtown should in no way suggest that we aren’t focused on safety across the entire community. This intensive effort is driven by data that suggests a disturbing trend of increases in both property and violent crime in our downtown,” said Asheville Police Chief David Zack.
60-Day Initiative Efforts:
- Increased law enforcement presence by utilizing foot, bike, and vehicle patrols as well as enhanced security in downtown parks.
- Launch of a Community Responder Pilot Program led by the Asheville Fire Department to support individuals in crisis and provide a more visible City public safety presence downtown. The pilot will be used to inform a longer-term Community Responder initiative past the 60 days.
- Focused attention on the removal of litter, needles and biological waste and general Downtown cleanliness; as well as increased maintenance activities in downtown parks.
- Partner with any private or non-profit organization to identify key locations in downtown where there are public safety concerns and/or to schedule community clean-up efforts.
- Enforcement of illegally parked cars with a specific focus on the areas in and around Pritchard Park.
- Enhanced frequency of monitoring City-owned and operated public parking garages, including stairwells in these facilities.
- Focused attention on quickly removing graffiti on public property and graffiti code enforcement on private property in the downtown area.
- Concentrated effort to identify streetlight outages in the central business district and coordination of necessary streetlight replacements with Duke Energy.
What the Community Can Do
- We encourage those reporting crimes in-progress to call 911.
- We encourage those reporting non-emergency public safety concerns to use APD’s non-emergency number (828) 252-1110.
- To report criminal activity anonymously, text TIP2APD to 847411. You can also use the TIP2APD smartphone application (search “Asheville PD” in your app store.)
- Contact avldowntownsafetyinitiative@PublicInput.com to schedule a public safety assessment or to receive additional information about the 60-day downtown safety initiative.
- Check out these crime prevention tips and share them with your networks.
- Organize a community clean-up event.
- Use Asheville APP to report a concern not related to criminal activity.
- Post No Trespassing signs on private property and sign a Trespass Letter with APD.
- Follow the progress of the initiative by signing up to receive updates on the newly created Downtown Safety Initiative Project Page.
“During this 60-day period, City staff will be tracking and testing actions we hope will make for a safer downtown,” said City Manager Debra Campbell. “The efforts we are taking will be tracked and regularly updated on a newly created Downtown Safety Initiative Page. At the end of the 60 days, staff will assess whether or not our actions are having an impact on downtown safety and determine next steps to support a safer downtown and City as a whole.”