Asheville is a city located in the western part of North Carolina, United States. It is situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains, which offer a beautiful backdrop for the city. The city has a population of approximately 95,000 residents, according to the 2020 U.S. Census Bureau estimates. Asheville is known for its vibrant arts scene, lively music culture, and outdoor activities, making it a popular tourist destination.
While Asheville is generally a safe city, like any other urban area, it does have its share of crime. According to the Asheville Police Department, the city has seen a slight increase in property crime in recent years, but violent crime rates have remained relatively stable. In 2020, the city recorded a total of 1,580 violent crimes, which included 12 murders, 75 rapes, 401 robberies, and 1,092 aggravated assaults. The property crime rate for the same year was 5,297 incidents, which included 689 burglaries, 4,342 larcenies, and 266 motor vehicle thefts.
Historically, Asheville has had some high-profile crime cases. In the 1970s and 1980s, the city was known for its notorious serial killer, The Asheville Phantom, who was responsible for the deaths of at least six people. In more recent years, the city has seen a rise in opioid addiction, leading to an increase in drug-related crimes.
As with any city, there are certain areas of Asheville that are considered more dangerous than others. Neighborhoods like Deaverview, Pisgah View, and Livingston Heights are known to have higher crime rates, particularly for property crimes. Visitors and residents should also exercise caution in downtown Asheville during late-night hours, as there have been reports of muggings and assaults in the area.
Despite these risks, Asheville is generally considered a safe city to live and visit. The city has a strong police presence, and officers are often visible patrolling the downtown area on foot and on bicycles. Visitors should exercise caution when walking alone or in small groups, especially at night, and be aware of their surroundings.
In terms of safe times to be out, Asheville is generally safe during the daytime hours. The downtown area is bustling with activity during the day, and there are plenty of shops, restaurants, and outdoor activities to enjoy. However, visitors should still exercise caution when walking alone or in small groups, especially in areas that are less populated or poorly lit.
In addition to the standard safety precautions, visitors to Asheville should also be aware of the city's bear population. Black bears are common in the surrounding mountains and occasionally make their way into the city. Visitors should avoid feeding the bears or approaching them, as they can be dangerous. It is also recommended to store food and trash securely to avoid attracting bears.
Overall, Asheville is a vibrant and safe city to live and visit. While it does have its share of crime, visitors and residents can take simple precautions to stay safe and enjoy all that the city has to offer.