Downtown Safety & Cleanliness
Downtown Safety & Cleanliness
Our community thrives on the ability to support a vibrant and welcoming downtown for residents, businesses, and visitors. Recent times have seen an increase in concerns related to safety and cleanliness conditions. The City of Asheville has embraced a proactive approach by exploring, testing, and refining strategies for on-going and improved service delivery. A new community responder program, enhanced public space management and coordinated cleanup efforts are examples of how we are working across departments and the community to ensure that downtown Asheville reflects the very best of our city. Your input and involvement are critical to a safer, cleaner, and more enjoyable downtown. Join us in supporting community safety efforts and offering ideas on how we can make our downtown even better.
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.
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.
Responding to unsheltered homelessness is a high priority for the City
The City has a Homeless Strategy Division which is leading efforts to work with the community to implement recent recommendations from the National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH).
The City works closely with service providers to develop and fund new shelter and housing capacity.
Learn more about the City's efforts to address homelessness here.
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.