Those living in Asheville, North Carolina would do best to watch out — the city has seen an extreme increase in break-ins over the past year.
“According to the Asheville Police Department, officers responded to 41 break-ins in 2022. Just one month into 2023, they’ve already had 11 reports – a 200% + monthly increase,” reported local station WLOS.
Law enforcement officials in the city began not responding to many types of crimes over a year ago, as seen in a June 2021 report from WSPA 7News. Crimes that the Asheville PD would no longer address included thefts of items deemed worth less than $1,000 with no identifiable suspect, vehicle break-ins that do not have suspect information, and even identity theft.
The lack of police response comes as a result of an officer shortage, according to the report.
One of the city’s victims is local business owner Chris Faber, who owns the Times Bar.
“The first time, [they stole] about $700 or $800 in cash and about 10 or so bottles of whisky, or alcohol. The second time, there was no cash, but another 10, 12 bottles. [They] took our dirty rag hamper and dumped all the rags on the ground, and then used that to load up booze,” Faber said as he discussed two recent break-ins.
The same alleged thief also reportedly broke into a store next door.
Faber described the experience as “wildly frustrating,” noting that it gives him discomfort to leave his business unattended.
“We just don’t know what to do as a preventative measure, other than what we’re already doing,” he added.
Liberal North Carolina tourist destination hemorrhaging police amid rise in violent crime https://t.co/7DbsoIGbRg pic.twitter.com/NDNtpkhFdV
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) September 13, 2022
Another person who runs a local bar, Chuckie McKelvey of the Asheville Yacht Club, can relate. She suffered from a similar experience on Jan. 18th.
“I feel like we’re all suffering from the problem, but none of us really have a great solution. Of course, if more police presence were there, that would be a helpful deterrent. But I understand that that’s just not an option right now,” McKelvey told WLOS.
In addition to the shortage of law enforcement officials, some have pointed to a lack of prosecution as another reason for the upswing in crime.
Under the condition of remaining anonymous, one Asheville police officer said that the local district attorney’s office bears a large amount of responsibility for the disarray.
“Crime will continue to rise when there is no accountability for subjects of a crime. Officers overlook so many things because they know that it will go nowhere in court,” the officer told The Carolina Journal in September.
At least some residents of the city seem to agree. Asheville local William Dissen, who owns The Market Place restaurant, said it is time for him and others to take their community back, stressing, “we need the help from the politicians and our legislators to put appropriations into the safety of our town.”
Currently, the city of Asheville is run by politicians representing the Democratic Party.