The City of Asheville's Community Crime Map for downtown Asheville in January 2023. Not all crimes are reported or shown. Numbered boxes represent multiple crimes. Map shows break-ins, thefts, robberies, and vandalism reported to Asheville Police Department.

A spate of downtown break-ins has restaurateur William Dissen and bar owner Chris Faber wondering about the future of Asheville.

Dissen, owner of the Marketplace Restaurant on Wall Street the past 14 years, said the thief who broke in early on the morning of Jan. 25 wasn’t able to steal much, but he caused a lot of damage — tens of thousands of dollars in damage that caused the restaurant to close for the better part of a week. The man kicked in a glass kitchen door and “wreaked havoc,” Dissen said.

“They were looking to steal money and other things, but we have a good system and keep things locked up internally, so other things got smashed up along the way,” Dissen told me. “And he smashed our security panel and tried to get into our cash drawer.”

William Dissen, who has owned and operated the Marketplace restaurant in downtown Asheville for 14 years, said the city has definitely felt less safe to him in recent months. // Photo provided by William Dissen.

No cash was in the drawer, but the person smashed up their point of sales system. And, apparently trying to get into the locked office, he kicked in two windows, knocked over wine racks and destroyed “thousands of dollars of wine.”

In all, Dissen’s business is out “tens of thousands of dollars.”

“It’s been like the Wild West downtown lately,” Dissen said.

Sleeping in the bar to protect it?

Faber, who owns The Times Bar & Coffee Shop next to the S&W Food Court, across from Pritchard Park, is all too familiar with that concept — he recently slept in his bar and personally foiled a third attempt at a break-in in just one week. His bar was broken into Jan. 13 and again on Jan. 19, and he sustained thousands of dollars in losses, much of it liquor theft.

Chris Faber, who owns the Times Bar & Coffee Shop in downtown Asheville, said his business was broken into twice in one week. He actually slept inside one night and scared off someone attempting another break-in. // Asheville Watchdog photo by Starr Sariego

“They tried to break in on the 14th, but I was here,” Faber said, noting that his front doors were broken from the previous night’s break-in and he had makeshift locks on them. “So I just camped out, and sure enough somebody came back the next night at 4:30 a.m., trying to pull on the doors. I went old-man-‘Get-off-my-lawn’ crazy on them and scared them off.”

I interviewed Dissen and Faber last week before the police announced they had arrested two suspects in the break-ins, but that didn’t change their minds about the state of downtown.

Here’s what the arrest press release stated:

Ronald Steve Anderson // Buncombe County Jail photo

Ronald Steve Anderson, 61, is charged with damage to real property, six counts of felony breaking and entering, and six counts of larceny after breaking and entering of six downtown businesses that were hit Jan. 28, according to the Asheville Police Department. He has also been identified as “a person of interest” in additional breaking and entering cases.

Anderson, who police say was recently released from prison on breaking and entering convictions, is in the county jail and being held on $30,000 secured bond.

Also arrested was William Jeter Henson III, 42, who is charged with nine counts of felony breaking and entering and seven counts of larceny after breaking and entering related to break-ins to homes and eight businesses on Haywood Road in West Asheville and in the River Arts District. He was arrested Jan. 18 and is in the Buncombe County Jail on a $10,000 secured bond.

William Jeter Henson, III // Buncombe County Jail photo

The two men were operating independently, police said.

Clearly, the arrests are good news for the business owners, and when I talked to them, they were appreciative. Dissen said it “provides some relief” to know the people charged will be going through the justice system.

“Still, downtown crime and the homeless encampments are still an issue that’ll need to be resolved,” he said. “I think it’s a continuing conversation with APD and the city of Asheville to find solutions for public safety and protecting not just the safety but the economic viability and the future of the city.”

Faber said he’s thrilled to hear of the arrest and relieved to not feel like he has to sleep in his bar, but…

“I think for me at this point, the issue is, ‘Is there going to be prosecution?’” he said.

Too many times, Faber contends, criminals get off too lightly or are released back on to the streets to reoffend again and again.

Henson and Anderson both have prior charges of breaking and entering. Henson’s criminal record includes seven arrests since 2010. His address was an Asheville day shelter, an indication he was homeless. Henson served 13 months in prison for multiple felony breaking and entering convictions from 2019 and was still on parole through October 2022.

‘I’ll make zero dollars in January’

Last Wednesday I interviewed APD Capt. Joe Silberman, head of the Criminal Investigations Division, about crime and break-ins downtown, and I listened in on an interview with Officer Robert Crume, who worked the break-ins case. They acknowledged that the downtown has seen an uptick in break-ins, but they also cited some good old-fashioned detective work in breaking this case (some of that included Crume physically eyeballing hundreds of mugshot photos of potential suspects).

APD Officer Robert Crume, while working an internship with the Criminal Investigations Division, played a key role in breaking a recent string of break-ins in downtown Asheville. Crume said business owners have expressed frustration to him over crime, especially in the last year. Asheville Watchdog photo by John Boyle.

APD said so far in 2023, 11 burglaries have been reported downtown – eight commercial and three residential.  In January 2022, there were seven burglaries reported – six commercial and one residential.

For all of 2022, 41 burglaries were reported downtown – 30 commercial and 11 residential. So yes, it’s a noticeable increase, the officers said.

This is all part of complicated issues that include, obviously, crime, but also police staffing and an officer shortage, homelessness, drug addiction, mental illness, tourism and more. 

“What’s the solution, short of me sleeping in my bar every night?” Faber told me before learning of the arrests. “We’ve all got cameras, motion detectors, alarms, but none of those are preventing this or obviously stopping people from doing this.”

Faber worries about encounters with criminals that could turn ugly, result in fights, or even deaths. And yes, the financial hit is substantial.

“When you have someone break in who does $10,000 in damage, that may be your profit in January,” Faber said. “I’ll make zero dollars in January. Between all the cash and booze that was stolen, that’s my profit for the month.”

Faber and Dissen feel the city needs to have some serious discussions about public safety, funding more officers, and yes, possibly funneling some Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority occupancy tax dollars toward public safety.

“You’ve got to create a place where locals and others visiting downtown feel safe,” Dissen said. “If you don’t, they’re not going to come back.”

Marketplace has 32 employees, and Dissen, who lives in West Asheville, said he’s fully invested in Asheville. The restaurant is a farm-to-table operation that also creates business for local growers.

“I want to make sure I can provide a safe environment for my family, for my business, for my team,” he said. “But I feel like we’re having a difficult time doing that, because we don’t have the necessary support I should have from being a taxpaying business owner.”

Police are sympathetic

Crume, the officer who played a key role in breaking the recent break-ins case, said he’s been in touch with a lot of business owners over the past four or five years.

“And in the past year, they’ve actually expressed a lot more frustration to me, as far as the B&E’s that are going on,” Crume said. “Some of them have declined even to report them. They just report the loss to their insurance and move on, they’ve become so frustrated with the situation.”

This jibes with a list that Faber gave me of downtown businesses that have been hit in recent weeks, as it contained 14 businesses downtown and in the River Arts District — and Faber said he had learned of three to five more.

Capt. Joe Silberman, head of the APD’s Criminal Investigations Unit, said he’s sympathetic to downtown business owners after the recent spate of break-ins. But the APD cannot short other high-crime areas of town to provide downtown with more officers. // Asheville Watchdog photo by John Boyle.

Silberman too is sympathetic to the business owners, and he said while a lot of folks complain about tourism, it also “pays for a lot of things” around here.

“The other thing is, these businesses are some people’s whole world,” Silberman said, noting that restaurant and bar profit margins often are “ultra tight,” and those businesses had to struggle to make it through the COVID-19 pandemic.

But he also pointed out that police can’t solve homelessness, addiction, or mental illness. And while he acknowledged that police staffing downtown has shrunk, Silberman said that’s also a complex issue wrapped up in severe shortage of officers, and demand for policing service in other areas of the city that actually have more crime.

If you want to transfer more officers downtown, they have to come from elsewhere in the city. So you could fill downtown with officers …

“But it means you will not have officers on Airport Road or officers in certain areas that are high crime,” Silberman said. “And by high crime, I mean high aggravated assault. High violence. And those neighborhoods are screaming, too, saying, ‘We’re having shootings and deaths in this area. We want more [police support].’ And that more has to come from somewhere, right?”

In 2020, downtown was its own police patrol district, with officers and a bike patrol unit. In all, eight officers were on a given shift.

Today, the district extends farther south and includes Biltmore Village. Two officers per shift cover the entire district, police spokesperson Samantha Booth said.

APD vacancies, small academy classes

Meanwhile, APD’s staffing shortages remain critical. Of 238 sworn officer positions, 64 are vacant, Silberman said. Also, of those 174 officers working, some are still in training and not sworn, and some are on medical leave, pregnant, or out on family or military leave.

“So if I have an incident on the street, there are 142 officers out of 238 that I could call,” Silberman said. “It’s 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and that’s assuming nobody trains or goes on vacation or gets sick.”

I mentioned to Silberman that Dissen and other business owners downtown said they feel like they just don’t see cops much anymore, that the city’s center doesn’t feel as safe.

“I understand why he feels that way, and I’m sorry he does,” Silberman said. “I think Asheville as a city is going through what a lot of other cities are going through right now … which is an increase of crime, and what appears to be a permissive environment.”

The APD is using overtime to keep more cops on the street, and Silberman and Crume both talked about how an internship program that allows street cops to work with Criminal Investigations is paying dividends, as it did in the recent break-ins cases. The department has boosted its capabilities in DNA testing, in-house drug testing, and ballistics, and it has a dedicated gun unit that they said is having strong success, among other initiatives.

As far as the crime and lack of staffing, Silberman said, “You can’t just solve that with money instantly. It’s something that will, without a doubt, take time. And it takes more than money to solve it.”

For instance, the APD’s current academy class has just four candidates enrolled, and it takes close to a year to get them fully trained, certified and on the streets.

“Twelve (candidates) is a good academy,” Silberman said. “In late 2019, we graduated, I think we had 19 in a class. That was a large class and we were over-hired.”

They made an exception for that class because of expected attrition. 

After the social unrest in 2020 related to the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Asheville saw an exodus of officers, and fewer applications. Silberman acknowledged Asheville has a hard time recruiting “for a host of different reasons, but not the least of which is Asheville is a difficult and sometimes dangerous city, especially compared to other cities in the area.”

“And not that police work isn’t dangerous all around, but the work volume in Asheville is huge,  and you are not necessarily well compensated for the work,” he said.

Starting basic salary for police officer trainees is $42,548. After completing the academy and obtaining state certification, pay increases to $45,856. After three years of service, officers advance to senior police officer status and earn $49,9164.00.

If you can’t protect business in the middle of downtown, who’s going to want to open things here?

Chris Faber, owner of the Times Bar & Coffee Shop

Silberman also said there’s a public perception that “the residents of Asheville don’t necessarily want or support their police, and that’s not true.”

Well, in some quarters, that is definitely true, as some locals would like to see the Police Department abolished. That’s another story for another day.

All of this makes policing an unusually tough job, and Asheville also struggles with retention of officers. Still, Silberman said he and other officers aren’t frustrated with their plight.

“Frustrated isn’t the right word,” Silberman said. “A lot of the people that are still here are very personally invested in the department, but more so in the mission.”

As Faber and Dissen work to repair their businesses, that’s good to hear. But they’re still shaken by the January they’ve just lived through.

“Everybody I’ve talked to is just at a loss,” Faber said. “Short of camping out in our restaurants with weapons, we don’t know what to do.”

Cops said video surveillance is invaluable, and restaurants and businesses should “harden” entrances and windows as much as possible. And don’t keep cash on the premises overnight.

In Faber’s case, having video surveillance just kept him awake for two weeks.

Chris Faber, owner of the Times Bar & Coffee Shop downtown, said a recent string of break-ins makes him wonder about the future of downtown as a place for business owners to invest. // Asheville Watchdog photo by Starr Sariego.

“I haven’t slept in going on two weeks – I’m just sitting at home at 4 a.m. watching my cameras,” Faber said. “And this is happening literally right smack dab in the middle of Asheville.”

His exasperation was palpable.

“If you can’t protect business in the middle of downtown, who’s going to want to open things here?”

It’s a fair point.

Asheville Watchdog is a nonprofit news team producing stories that matter to Asheville and Buncombe County. John Boyle has been covering Asheville and surrounding communities since the 20th century. You can reach him at (828) 337-0941, or via email at

38 replies on “Opinion: For restaurant and bar owners enduring break-ins, downtown has become ‘like the Wild West’ ”

  1. It’s time to put a moratorium on building hotels downtown. We do not as this article illustrates have the police force to protect the citizens and businesses that are currently located in Asheville. We need beat cops downtown on foot and there just are none. But City council just keeps passing more and more building within city limits ,who is going to protect them??????

  2. It appears that there is not a focus on downtown for the council and there may be a shortage of patrol people to accomplish what we want. The city seems to not be able to control the noise- the trash-near containers and all over the sidewalks- the dangerous spots on many sidewalks- frequent panhandling conflicts and even mental health acting out which could be ameliorated by a walking patrol in the downtown. I do know of a few residents downtown- who have recently started carrying weapons on morning walks. This is not the Asheville reputation or actual living and tourist experiences that we want. The city really has to do something about a rehab of downtown including a substantial upgrade in our safety and security. They have so many other issues they wish to address- they seem to not have time for us; for infrastructure. They seem to not have time for our citizens and business owners and even downtown tourists– as they focus on “their” issues.

  3. The TDA absolutely needs to pitch in. They have scads of money that could be used to promote the academies, create programming to help those in need and beef up security for businesses that are hard hit. And crapping in the kitchen floor? I din’t think that’s stress at all. It’s about power, people take it where they can get it.

  4. It’s absolutely imperative to shift great wads of TDA money toward public safety. Must we wait till meteors or spy balloons hit tourists in the head?

  5. Great article! Very similar to the recent FOX News article about the same subject, except its article made reference to the liberal Democrat controlled City of Asheville. You didn’t touch that rail as perhaps a major cause of the city’s problems. There has always been some crime here —- My home was broken into in the early 80s when we were out for the evening. Practically as soon as we reported it police swarmed our house and the neighborhood. A captain even showed up. There was policing and we still felt safe going downtown. Not anymore.

    As Southern Living and other publications touted Asheville as a great place to live people moved here from California and northern areas, many to get away from their cities and states with high crime and taxes. They built new restaurants, etc and the city flourished. Unfortunately, they brought their liberal politics and eventually changed the whole political structure. Blue dog Democrats and Republicans almost ceased to exist. The present situation here should not be a surprise to anyone who has been watching the national scene.

    The start to a solution is at the ballot box.

    1. Jim, that Fox “News” article was a joke and didn’t even remotely resemble real journalism. Specifically, what “liberal politics” are to blame for this problem. What conservative ones would fix it, keeping in mind crime is higher in red states than blue states, and this includes cities with Republican mayors (before you dust off that tired old chestnut)?

      1. Ron, I can answer that. Take all funds from local reparation programs and climate change programs (liberal policies) and funnel into paying police officers more to attract more officers to walk downtown (conservative policies).

        1. Every day I read about another musical festival or noisy non-essential tourist attraction to bring even more visitors to downtown. One was just announced for this August. It’s time for the TDA to step and fund extra police, as well as raises for those who continue to serve. I wouldn’t blame the whole bunch of them if they went on strike. And we all know that the tourism is as much to blame as any scapegoated ‘progressive’ policies.

        2. Absolutely!! Why should we have to pay for something we had nothing to do with! As long as we bow down to their baseless demands, we will continue to go down hill. Vote the liberals out of our town.

  6. A cop makes $3,800 a month? Seriously? A basic apartment will cost $2,500 off the top. Like far too many jobs in Asheville, we can’t pay cops a living wage? If residents and businesses can’t feel safe, tourism will disappear. Allocate some of the tourism tax money to public safety.

  7. This is sad and not unexpected. This is what happens when uncontrolled growth and marketing of our beautiful downtown hits an imbalance. I saw the same thing happen to 6th Street in Austin. It was a dangerous place in the 80s, then became a fun place in the 90s, just like Asheville, and then it became a dangerous place. Full cycle. No matter what your political alliance is, we tax payers cannot keep paying to keep downtown safe. TDA money needs to be used for the beautification and security of our now DisneyLand downtown. The more hotels built, the more money to TDA and the more money the more marketing. It just is not sustainable. People forget that about 4 years ago the City asked the TDA for $1 Million to fund policing downtown and it was denied. This needs to be fixed at our legislative level. If not we will lose one of our greatest assets. And I do agree the city throws money out for 3rd party studies and pet projects rather than looking and solving a problem that many popular towns have had to deal with.

  8. Yes, let the old TDA kick in some of it’s money to help keep Asheville safe FIRST! Otherwise Asheville just might not be THE place to visit and there might not be anything for the TDA to market!

  9. What is the definition of insanity? Doing the same things over and over even though they aren’t working? That sums up the City and County’s approach to homelessness. The LATEST consultant pretty much said do what you are doing but do more of it. Until we have a major change in how we are dealing with homelessness, drugs, mental illness, things will continue to go downhill. Look at some of the larger, liberal cities out west. They are starting to change their approach and are less tolerant of camping, panhandling, etc.

  10. One of my hopes for independent media like AVL Watchdog is a broader perspective on the news of the day and greater context, so it’s sad this article reads like a laundry list of right-leaning grievance from the past few years. Boyle parrots the talking points that crime is up, cops are underpaid, and too many people want to “abolish police” without providing much context. Crime is up compared to what? Most cities, even with the pandemic-induced rise, remain at historical lows for crime across the board. What is Asheville’s crime rate compared to before the pandemic? A decade (or two) ago? How does crime in 2023 compare with the supposedly halcyon days of yesteryear?

    Cops are underpaid sure sounds like something most cops want reported, which should always be the first indication that it needs closer inspection. Beyond the starting salary, how much overtime was paid last year? What about pensions? How has the budget for policing changed over the past decade? What are citizens getting for the money we spend of police — are they any more effective, or just demanding more money while doing less?

    And then of course there’s the scourge of the woke police abolitionists that Boyle can’t help but mention for some reason(“but that’s a story for another time”), but what percentage of Asheville residents actually support abolition of police? I suspect it’s in the single digits, if it registers at all, but it sure would be great to get some actual numbers instead of just supposition. Beyond the calls for outright abolition, what are the reforms that would actually make police not only more effective but more accountable? Since Boyle felt the need to bring the mass protests following the murder of George Floyd into the conversation, why not also mention citizen reviews boards, ending qualified immunity, or getting rid of police unions? One of the officers interviewed acknowledged police can’t solve homelessness, what are the community resources that are actually helping? Where’s the advocacy for spending more on community outreach, or is criminalizing poverty the only solution of offer.

    The treatment of the causes of homelessness is also completely missing. Boyle interviewed some local business owners but couldn’t bother to call a local advocate for the homeless? Or even introspect what’s been driving homelessness in Asheville (like most American cities, the evidence points to … a lack of homes!). Building more housing, not to mention infrastructure like transit, especially in our small but relatively dense downtown, would go a long way to helping the city feel like a place where people actually live instead of just a weekend getaway for tourists. Might greater community investment start to improve downtown? Apparently the only solution is to throw more cops on the streets.

    Boyle seems to have started this column with a concluion, one that’s strikingly similar to most right-leaning opinion havers today, that crime is soaring, local businesses are suffering, and it’s largely a result of people who took to the streets with the seemingly simple request that agents of the state stop murdering Black people in disproportionate numbers. It’s a tidy, simple story. I’m left with more questions than I started with, though.

    1. Jim, you are suffering from amnesia. The george floyd protests that culminated in a gleeful group delivering an excrement filled coffin to APD is the catalyst for Ashevilles woes today. You say most Ashevillians are for the police, but you know that is not true. this cities mayor and other leaders villified the police, and said nothing to support them. Neither did all those people you seem to think support cops here. they stayed silent while this took place. Now, no one in their right mind would work here for the police.(even with all the overtime and what you think is a fat juicy pension). Asheville is reaping what it sowed. These are not “right wing talking points” , these are the realities of what is causing all the trouble now.

      1. I do remember the coffin incident — the one where the crack APD squad was somehow unable to determine who allegedly lugged 200lbs of dirt and compost during an otherwise peaceful protest following another abuse of qualified immunity (also, I know it can be hard to keep straight which incident of state violence against Black people is which, but that particular protest was in response to Breonna Taylor, not George Floyd). I thought the whole affair was pretty dumb and distracting and while I try to avoid conspiratorial thinking, the fact that more people reacted to the alleged coffin than the injustice the protestors were standing for gives me pause.

        That protest came at the same time the city decided to reduce the police budget for the first time in recent memory, by about $700,000 or about 3% from the previous year. The police budget had increased by about $4 million over the previous five years, so crying poor seems not to stand up to basic scrutiny.

        I suppose I would also ask: what do you think policing is actually for? You seem to be hung up on this notion of respect, but police officers take an oath to serve and protect their communities. We imbue them with awesome power — literally state sanctioned power to irrevocably alter the lives of citizens up to and including ending those lives. When that power is abused time and time and time again, reasonable people will and should push back. And if someone refuses to do their job as a police officer because they don’t feel respected enough, what was their motivation to begin with? Certainly doesn’t seem like it was serving their community.

        But back to the issue at hand — where’s the evidence that most or even many Asheville residents are anti-police? Seems like that would be an interesting poll for Asheville Watchdog to conduct and way more useful than just winging off an opinion. Where’s the evidence that more police would have actually stopped the crime? What level of policing is necessary? How much more money should we spend on police? Where should that money come from — higher taxes, reduced services?

        All of these are more relevant lines of inquiry than “BLM made some cops sad so now they can’t do their jobs”

          1. I don’t dislike police officers or even the idea of police forces. I’m not a police abolitionist. I do dislike abuses of power, systemic oppression, and continuing to throw resources at failed policies. Police departments have gotten more militarized for decades, police budgets have only increased for decades, police unions have fought to resist any kind of accountability for decades, and where is the proof that it’s made us safer. Honestly, it’s a pretty conservative argument that state resources should have to prove their value. Yet for some reason cops are immune from any questions about the effectiveness of the billions of dollars spent on maintaining the status quo, especially from the political right. I wonder why that is.

    2. Jim, if you had a business downtown and were continuing to be victimized you would be singing a different tune….begging for protection. It is so sad that when a journalist like Mr. Boyle who has no liberal or conservative agenda but just interviews the victims, the police and reports the facts that he is accused of catering to conservative views. Facts are facts, and Mr. Boyle was reporting the same.

      1. Why do I need to be a downtown business owner to have an opinion about the city where I live and pay taxes? Not that it matters, but I patronize those businesses, I don’t want to see them (or any!) business vandalized, I don’t want to feel unsafe in my city. Maybe it’s because, even though I grew up here, I’ve lived in other places, so my perspective is a bit different, but I’ve never worried about crime in Asheville. The things that worry me most are the uptick in vehicular violence and the reckless driving that plague our city, like many others, especially since the pandemic.

        I’ve read Boyle enough over the years to know that he doesn’t fit the mold of a standard issue conservative these days, more like a reactionary centrist, which is what we used to call conservatives before they went completely off the rails and turned everything into a giant culture war. I find Boyle someone I can respectfully disagree with, which is why I found this piece so infuriating. It generated a bit of heat, no real light, and felt like a missed opportunity to investigate the bigger picture. The press generally does a poor job of looking deeply into structural issues and the uptick in crime, especially property damage, is much more structural than some simplistic trope about the police being unable to do their jobs because of few protests two years ago. As I mentioned in my original comment, it’s sad that Boyle didn’t take an opportunity to use his platform to go deeper.

    3. I’ve read John’s articles for many years and always felt that they had a liberal slant. And here’s someone who thinks they have a conservative slant. This just goes to show that slant is in the eye of the beholder.

  11. One of the biggest problems in this town is the blatant and consistent lack of honesty. Just look (below) at one of the many articles being written by people who profit from visitors, newcomers, short-term rentals (realtors, TDA, etc.). You won’t find one mention of our city’s growing pains, crime, homelessness, crumbling infrastructure, the lack of police/teacher retention. Until people get on the same page and acknowledge realities and work to fix them, we’re just going to keep heading off the precipice. We the people keep raising red flags.

  12. This is a human resources and recruiting challenge for the City and APD, not a financial one. They have the budget, but aren’t being successful in recruiting. Businesses in downtown, River Arts District, West Asheville and East Asheville are concerned for the safety of their employees, customers, businesses and livelihood. Note that downtown has doubled in property value since 2015 ($621M to $1.4B), which means the City is collecting more taxes from downtown businesses and residents accordingly. Previously, downtown had a dedicated police unit, and two public bathrooms. Why is downtown paying more in taxes to the City and receiving less services? Many businesses have resorted to paying for private security.

    1. RE: doubled property values / taxes
      A statement made in one of the comments implies that tax collections should have doubled on real estate where the real estate value has doubled. That’s not how it works. While assessed values may go up (by double, for this example), tax paid only rises in proportion to the change in the city/county budget that receives income from these taxes. My property has almost doubled in value over a few years, but taxes have only risen (or not) by a few percent, at the same rate as rise in local government spending. Property market/assessed values may rise, but the tax rate is adjusted (frequently downward to a new lower value) to where actual tax payments only rise at the same rate that local government budgets rise. The frequent (1-2 year) re-assessment of all properties in a rising market leads to a lower tax rate. This is a much fairer system than others where assessed value only changes to the new market value when a property is sold. In the other system, long-time owners would pay a much lower tax than newer owners who are buying into higher priced real estate. Frequent re-assessing of the value of all properties avoids a property tax windfall to local government budgets. If the house next to you sells for two-times what it sold for five years ago, it does not mean that local government budgets will see a two-times increase in services that it can provide.

  13. One of the suspects in these crimes was, perhaps, homeless (according to the address given on his arrest report). The other was not specified as being homeless, but described as a person who was on parole through October 2022. Both have records of breaking and entering, and are suspected in connection with other incidents. So—you’ve got two guys who seem to constitute a kind of local breaking-and-entering crime wave. You could even call them “bad apples.”

    In no way does that justify stigmatizing the entire population of homeless people as contributing to these kinds of property crimes.

    It is of course frightening and enraging to have one’s business vandalized—no one should have to go through that. I hope that those owners have business insurance that will mitigate their losses (it wasn’t mentioned in the article). But it also seems premature to say “crime is up” based on one month’s data compared to 2022.

  14. I was thinking moving there but what I am reading looks weird I own a business for almost 20 years in Massachusetts and I’m thinking moving there because the weather it’s mild than here. This article is kind of tricky to me make me think and another reason I wanted to move there because my daughter live outside of Asheville… I need to know about Asheville Moore everybody welcome to email me thank you

  15. Asheville has needed more of a police presence for more that 15 years. The concerns for citizens and tourists began to decline during the current administration (past 13 years). The city has become an embarrassment with beautiful historical sights destroyed along with any pride that natives held for our little city. It’s not a safe place to be for residents, shop owners or those shopping downtown any longer. We need to expand our police force and defund most of the city officials whose only concern seems to be annexation, controlling the water, and lining their own pockets. We need law and order, not protest groups bussed in that the mayor and city council seem to listen to rather than long-time and native residents.

  16. I am always amazed at the short memory of some of the commenters here. It is as if the “protests” over george floyd that took place here never happened. i remember that a coffin of excrement was proudly delivered to the APD front door by these “protesters” i also remember these “peaceful protesters” threatening the local media to not film or take pictures. I also clearly remember the lack of leadership shown by a mayor and city council whose silence was deafening. (sound recently familiar?) That was the day Aheville started to die. The lack of pay is not the reason Asheville can not hire cops. No one in their right mind would come to work here. No support from locals and elected leaders until all the police left and now they cry”who will protect us?” Spare me the tears Asheville, you brought this problem on yorselves.

  17. Great story John. too often people only here about the problems of the homeless and what we need to do about it. finally crime from the perspective of the citizens and business owners is told!! thanks again for a great story.

  18. Mr. Boyle, thank you for bringing attention to a horrific problem that is changing our once safe and beautiful downtown. Unfortunately the Asheville Citizen Times has morphed into an anti-police publication. Your shining the light on this problem is something that your prior employer (ACT) should have done long before now.

  19. About 4 years ago, we stopped going downtown to eat and recreate. We didn’t then, and don’t feel safe now.

  20. Thanks for writing what the residents and business owners see and live every day. The bottom line is Asheville is poorly run by people who have their personal agendas in mind (how many grants or subsidies have people that actually sit on council given themselves?), not the overall wishes of the residents who live here. The only way to change the projectory we’re on is to change out the leadership including the abysmal failures that are our city manager and mayor who conveniently disappear when they are most needed.

  21. I have long advocated that the City, APD and TDA work together to fund an auxiliary Koban-styled force specifically to patrol downtown and other known hotspots to get to know the community, direct/safeguard tourists and business owners, and anticipate/mitigate crime. $1 million from the TDA would fund and equip 12 officers earning $75k/year.

    The San Francisco Police Department has established three kobans — mini, self-contained police stations based on a concept used in Korea, Japan, and China — which are tailored specifically to the neighborhood in which they are located in terms of design and localized law enforcement objectives.

    The neighborhoods’ ethnic residents, accustomed not to “bother” police, feel the kobans bring the police home to their locale. In the koban in Chinatown, officers working in the stainless steel module respond largely to pickpockets and shoplifters as well as answer tips on drug offenses and homicides and help tourists with directions. In Japantown, most koban calls are for burglaries, purse-snatchings, and vandalism. The stainless steel koban, decorated with Japanese signage, provides a visual deterrence and gives a positive perception of police. The Halladie Plaza koban, in the heart of the city, handles resident and tourist contacts and merchant requests for assistance. Panhandling, battery, assault, purse snatching, and warrant arrests made this area noted for its street crime before the koban was built. A fourth koban, to be placed in a Hispanic neighborhood, will largely be funded by community contributions.

  22. As noted by one astute commenter here, this is not a financial problem and it’s not a tourism problem. These businesses have paid taxes to have their property protected and for downtown to be made safe. Yet there is a prevalent anti-police and anti-business orientation on city council (are there any businesspeople actually on council?). And as noted in the story there are many, many vacant positions. The city of Asheville is awash in money right now (property taxes, sales taxes, federal grants, Covid money)–they just choose to spend it on other things. Get a clue, people.

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