City Of Asheville Trapped In Crime Crisis, Prepares To Impose 60-Day 'Safety Initiative'

The City of Asheville, situated in North Carolina, is facing severe challenges due to soaring crime and a dwindling police force in the aftermath of the 2020 George Floyd murder, which sparked the nationwide 'defund the police' movement. In response to the rampant lawlessness, city officials have declared an emergency plan, beginning next week and lasting for two months, to tackle the crime wave. 

"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," the city stated in a press release

Next Monday, city officials are rolling out a 60-day initiative to address safety downtown:

"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. 

Here are some initiatives the city will implement to combat criminal activity on its streets:

  • 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.

The announcement comes as local newspaper Mountain Xpress recently warned of a severe police shortage due to the polarizing defunding of the police movement during the pandemic. 

On an ordinary day in Asheville, 16 to 18 police officers patrol the entire city, an area covering 46 square miles.

That's down from 30 cops on duty three years ago, when Asheville first started losing officers faster than it could replace them.

The Asheville Police Department has been operating at a reduced capacity, now just 60%, for more than two years — and the Police Chief, David Zack, told Asheville Watchdog that it could be another decade before the force returns to pre-pandemic levels.

Crime in Asheville

Remember, Democrats ensured everyone that defunding the police movement would make communities safer, but in reality, it has unleashed nationwide crime waves. This is evident in Baltimore, Chicago, and numerous West Coast cities. 

Looking forward, it's important to hold Democrats responsible for their role in promoting failed social justice reforms that have led to more dangerous metro areas. The best way is to vote these folks out of office in the next election cycle. 

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