(Asheville – Feb. 15, 2023). Explore Asheville, the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority, and partner community organizations are aware of the concern about public safety for all in our community.

With the recent increase, concentration, and frequency of break-ins and thefts in downtown and other neighborhood districts, we continue to hear from resident workers, business owners, and customers about their fears and frustrations. We understand the emotional and financial stress created by the costs, clean-up, and closures from damages.

Area residents and visitors have shared their reluctance to visit these districts and, in some cases, are opting to frequent areas outside of Asheville and Buncombe County. For the health of our community members and economy, we believe it’s important to communicate with residents and partners about what you can do to engage in the public process.

Break-In Prevention Session with APD February 20
The Asheville Police Department’s Community Engagement Division is offering a hybrid break-in prevention session for area businesses 9–11 am on February 20. Learn practical tips for making your business more secure to hamper break-ins and vandalism. Attendees will also have the opportunity to ask questions of officers. Click here to register for the training.

Report Criminal Activity
We appreciate that there is growing frustration with the lack of visible results or responses when criminal activity has been reported due to the lack of Asheville Police Department (APD) workforce. Even with the implementation of proactive recruitment and salary adjustments, just 11 officers were sworn in in December and the force remains 40% down. However, reporting each incident is critical in building a more complete picture of the crime situation in our area.

We strongly encourage reporting any incidents of crime to the police. It is only through our collective efforts that we can effectively combat crime and make our community a safer place for all. In the City of Asheville, there are several ways to report a crime.

  • Call the Asheville Police Department’s non-emergency line at (828) 252-1110
  • Use the online reporting tool available on the Asheville Police Department’s Police to Citizen website

Prioritizing Public Safety
Share your thoughts on public safety with the Asheville City Council during an especially important time, the City’s budget season. Take ten minutes to ensure that the City understands the need to prioritize funding for public safety, community responders, and the Asheville Police Department. Click here to provide your input on the City of Asheville’s FY23-24 Budget Priorities.

Plug Into Buncombe County’s Community Camera Registry Program
In addition, please be aware of the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department Real Time Intelligence Center. This center provides real-time surveillance footage from cameras throughout Buncombe County. Asheville City Council recently approved the installation of real-time cameras in city-owned high-traffic areas, including Pritchard Park, City Hall, and the corner of Lexington and Hiawassee. Your business can opt to join the system to enhance the safety of its premises. Click here to learn more and register your camera.

Assisting Homelessness Response
The City is testing a dedicated resource to streamline and enhance responsiveness to resident reports of homelessness activity to help outreach partners and crisis response teams to connect those experiencing homelessness with the services they need. Report issues or incidents needing attention to helpendhomelessness@ashevillenc.gov.

The County and the City are coordinating to develop a multidisciplinary community responders pilot program to assist persons that are unsheltered and/or experiencing addiction or behavioral health issues.

Tips for Customers

Asheville is not immune to some of the challenges destinations around the country are experiencing following the pandemic and economic challenges. We encourage residents and guests to use the same basic safety tips that keep them secure in their own community or whenever and wherever they travel.

  • Travel in groups. Use well-lit streets and walkways at night.
  • Pay attention while walking and using your smartphone. These devices have been the target of thieves nationwide.
  • Do not leave your purse, backpack, or bag unattended, especially not on the back of your chair.
  • Moderate your drinking. If you are intoxicated, please take a taxi, Uber or Lyft instead of walking or driving.
  • Do not leave your drink unattended or accept drinks from strangers.
  • When hailing a ride via a mobile app, confirm the identity of your driver before getting into the car.
  • Lock car doors. Stow valuables out of sight in your vehicle.
  • Ensure that your hotel room door is fully closed and always locked. Thank you for your time, engagement, and for caring about public safety for all.