Asheville gun crime up 55% since 2016, police say

Asheville gun crime map
OFF TARGET: According to Asheville Police Department data, half of all calls for gun crime in the city since the start of 2019 have come from the vicinities of three public housing communities: Pisgah View, Deaverview and Hillcrest apartments. Graphic courtesy of the city of Asheville

Gun violence in Asheville has recently spiked, according to a report from Asheville City Manager Debra Campbell and Asheville Police Department Deputy Chief James Baumstark presented at City Council’s June 25 meeting. The report, which did not include data regarding other forms of crime or sexual assault, revealed that gun crime has risen nearly 14% since June 2018 — and 55% since 2016. 

Baumstark said that while most months of 2019 have tracked similarly to the same months last year in the volume of gun-related incident reports filed, May was particularly violent. More than double the number of gun-related incidents were reported then, he said, compared to May 2018. 

As of June 23, APD has responded to 360 gun calls, Baumstark said, noting that the top three locations from which police have received calls are in and around public housing communities. The vicinities of Pisgah View, Deaverview and Hillcrest apartments, he said, account for more than half of all calls for gunshot wounds, gun discharges and person-with-gun reports in 2019. 

Council member Sheneika Smith pointed out that calls to APD regarding gun violence do not necessarily reflect the actions of the members of public housing communities.

“As a community, when we’re addressing this issue, we need to also debunk a lot of the myths,” Smith said. “So when we say that we have a lot of calls in public housing, then we automatically think that the people who live in public housing are the problems, when they’re really victims. 

“There are people from outside of Asheville and other counties that come into our public housing areas and are causing a lot of the disturbances. I just want to put that out there so we have a great understanding as we move forward,” Smith continued. Council member Keith Young asked Baumstark about the demographics and residences of those charged for gun crime, but the deputy chief did not have that information immediately on hand. 

Baumstark said that APD has developed a task force with state and federal partners and is using the recent data to deploy resources to areas experiencing higher rates of gun violence. He also encouraged community members to increase their awareness of what happens in their neighborhood and to report suspicious activity.

“We’re not asking you to give your name or your address or your phone number, but if you see something that’s not right, we would like them to call,” Baumstark said. “I would rather go down and find out there’s absolutely nothing than to go down for a shooting an hour after they saw something that they didn’t think was right.”


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19 thoughts on “Asheville gun crime up 55% since 2016, police say

  1. Greg Rhodes

    That’s a bunch of crap yeah there’s a couple people from the outside of these apartments coming in but all your young guys living in those apartments are involved in gangs and selling drugs

    • Mike R.

      Spot on! As the British would say. The reason this nonsense is happening in the public housing projects is because there are at least 1 (one) but probably more low lifes that are pulling them in.

      I say give every public housing resident a 30-06, teach them how to shoot it and let the chips fall.

      I’m tired of all this bullshit in our country.

  2. Lou

    Yes, sounds about right. Anger, desperation, and profound despair have increased exponentially since 2016…especially that dark day in history, November 9, 2016.

    • Rusty

      Lol, so lemme get this straight, you’re saying you dont have the demographic or residence info the criminals on hand, but its probably people visiting from out of town going to the projects and shooting guns- be sure to stretch before those incredible mental gymnastics

  3. Jason

    To the Ones who promotes both “ gun rights” and “Blue lives matter”

    • Rusty

      Ummm follow the law like most people do and pay the price if you dont- pretty simple

      • Lulz

        LOL it pays to be an illegal where if you keep up with reports, are released for any crime they commit. Whether violent or not. Now if the government, the police, and the crony judges are going by 2 sets of laws, that means there are really no laws. They broke that contract. Keep that in mind when they use the “law” to commit acts of treason and justify it.

      • J

        My point is; constant “typically hypocritical” of the SAME party… promote war; yet protect the unborn.
        Promote guns; yet be concerned about cops safety….

        Low brow thinking

        • Rusty

          So does deescalating conflict around the world and using guns responsibly to protect the innocent just blow your mind?

          • Phillip C Williams

            We can’t win for losing….if we intervene – even at the request of another government – we are “promoting war”; if we don’t intervene, we are “turning a blind eye to a crisis”……and it would be interesting to know how many cops have been murdered by lawful gun owners, concealed carry permit holders, NRA members, etc…..

          • J

            Peace thru war.

            And dont kid yourself; we as a nation NOT responsible with guns…. and please do NOT waste anyones time trying to rationalize that we are..

    • Lulz

      LOL. Leftist are already talking confiscation. But what are the repercussions of that? Who is going tp take them? LOL who’s going to comply?

      End game of the leftist scum is open borders, new citizens allowed to run amok, disarm the populace with the expectation they demand more safety and security. Thus the Constitution is trashed because the cost of that is giving up freedom and we get totalitarian control.

      I’m not worried about gun violence that is actually a misnomer for violent drug or gang related crime. And is carried out mostly by blacks against blacks. That’s your doing leftist, You created it and you deal with it. But many won’t allow you to take their rights away simply as a way to claim it’s a solution. Your education system is awful. Your welfare system is nothing but a scam. And your claims of helping anyone is more along the lines of making them miserable, poorer, and lost while overpaid government bureaucrats enjoy fat paychecks and perks. Won’t hear that at no demoscum debate though.

      • M. Meadows

        HaHa, you add so much to the conversation. Using such colorful language to describe enlightened folks, you must be part of the staff. Otherwise, it seems open season to call “others” any sort of names. Shame on the oversight. HaHa.
        Liberals own guns too, republican’t. HaHa.

        • Lulz

          Enlightenef? Are you the same person that voted in a bunch of Democrats at the county while Wanda Green and friends advised higher taxes and the faithful went along with nary a peep? Enlightened in what way? Those that claim such crap are neither that or very smart. But they are fools.

          • M. Meadows

            HaHa. Not sure what you are saying. I’m not sure I could vote for “a bunch of Democrats at the county”. HaHa. I suggest a civics class, Lulz. Is it enlightened with a f or d? HaHa, proof read much? Anyone reading the Mountain Express can clearly see daily who is the fool.
            Please spare me the Wanda Greene fiasco. Bad people do bad things. Haha. Sorry you had to hear that from a stranger.

  4. Tourist

    So the theory is that outsiders are going into the public housing communities to rob and pillage? That’s laughable. This is just another distraction from the truth of black on black crime within the same community. Sure, drugs and gangs are largely the source but we need to examine the root first. That would be the dysfunctional family, such as the single mom with 4 kids from 3 dads who dropped out in 10th grade. Now she relies on public schools to raise her children. Personal responsibility has become an antiquated idea. Unfortunately tax payer generosity will be thrown at this problem to no end, with minimal positive effect.

  5. C-Law

    If only reparations would be paid out all would be swell in the “community!”

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