Latest Update

The most recent monthly newsletter was sent on January 22, 2024. View it here. To receive future updates, sign up using the contact form on the right side of the page. The next update will be sent on February 26, 2024

The City Manager's Office shared a report on public safety updates with City Council at the October 10, 2023 Council meeting. Click here to view the report, or watch the presentation by clicking here.

We are all in this together. Please visit the above “Take Action” tab to view previous updates and see how you can contribute to a safe and vibrant downtown.

What We're Doing

The City of Asheville’s Downtown Safety Initiative to develop a sustainable approach to addressing community safety and cleanliness issues transitioned from a pilot initiative to an ongoing effort in July 2023. During the initial pilot period in May and June, City staff continued standard operations while also tracking and testing actions that had potential to improve safety and cleanliness downtown. You can read more about the initiative on the "Summer 2023 Pilot Program" tab at the top of this page.

Ongoing efforts to continue and enhance services that support a safe, clean and welcoming downtown include the following:

Public Safety and Community Support 

  • APD continues to prioritize downtown coverage. The department is regularly supplementing downtown patrols and prioritizing coverage based on crime data. Regularly updated crime data is available here

  • APD continues to develop and deploy strategies to increase coverage and presence downtown, as well as recruit new officers.

  • The Parks Department provides 7-day/week security coverage, with downtown parks being the top focus. 

  • The City’s Community Responder Program is continuing long-term as an additional public safety presence and community resource. Teams of 2-3 firefighters are engaging proactively with people visibly in crisis or experiencing homelessness 7 days a week from 9am to 9pm. More information is viewable on this dashboard

  • The City contracts directly with Homeward Bound for street outreach. The outreach team engages with individuals experiencing homelessness and stands available to assist businesses or other community members to troubleshoot or mediate concerns. 

  • The Transportation Department launched contracted security coverage in City parking garages and parking lots in early 2024.

  • The City continues to improve systems of reporting and tracking repair needs for downtown street lighting.  More information is viewable on this dashboard.

  • The City is also increasing proactive enforcement of nuisance issues within downtown through the Development Services Department’s Compliance Division. This team is positioned to address issues including noise, construction-related closures/concerns, illegal vending, and other code violations. 

Cleanliness

  • The City prioritizes downtown cleanliness to promote an attractive and safe urban environment. City crews provide 7-day/week trash and recycling collection. There are 9 full-time Public Works employees devoted to downtown cleanliness. Additional contracted services are utilized for litter pick-up, vegetation control, pressure washing, biohazard cleaning, and improved response to litter hot spots on an as-needed basis. 

  • In an effort to further support public health and cleanliness conditions, the City is pursuing the installation of a downtown restroom facility. Installation is expected in Spring 2024.

Addressing Homelessness

 

Our Impact

City staff is currently working on ways to measure the ongoing impacts our efforts are having on a clean and safe downtown. Look for more information in the coming months. 

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October 2023: Public safety update to City Council

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July 2023: Transition from pilot initiative to ongoing effort

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July 2023: Update on continued services to Downtown Commission

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June 2023: Public safety update to City Council's Environment and Safety Committee

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June 2023: Public safety update to Downtown Commission

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May 2023: Public safety update to City Council's Environment and Safety Committee

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May 2023: Update to Downtown Commission

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May 2023: City staff participate in downtown clean-up supported by Asheville Greenworks

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May 2023: Downtown Safety Initiative begins

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January 2023: Partnership with Buncombe County Sheriff's Office to implement real-time camera system

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October 2022: Meal sharing guidance for public property

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August 2022: APD pay enhancements to improve recruitment and retention

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May 2022: ARPA funding awarded for downtown public restroom enhancements

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December 2021: Contract with national recruiting firm to boost APD staffing

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December 2020: Downtown Cleanliness contract approved

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July 2020: Security presence established in downtown parks