From killings to rapes to thefts, Asheville's crime rate increases

New data from the Asheville Police Department show that crime across the board is up in all serious categories in 2018. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

NOTE: The Asheville Police Department reported errors in the initial crime totals given to News 13. Those numbers reflected significant crime increases in all categories. The correct numbers show only some increases while a few categories have decreased.

The corrected chart is below, as provided by the Asheville Police Department.


New data from the Asheville Police Department show that crime across the board is up in most serious categories in 2018.

APD released a comparison of the six months from January to June of this year and last. It shows murders, rapes, aggravated assaults, thefts, larcenies and car thefts are all up.

Vice Mayor Gwen Wisler said APD Chief Tammy Hooper told the public safety committee two months ago she was concerned about the increase in crime. APD did not return an email request asking if Hooper would give her perspective on what could be causing the increases in city crime.

APD spokeswoman Christina Hallingse also sent data that confirmed crime has increased in specific inner city neighborhoods, including Hillcrest and several other subsidized housing developments. She said that and the historical summer crime increases in those neighborhoods is why APD has increased patrols in those areas.

“I’m just shocked at the amount of crimes there have been,” said Salynda Carter-Walter, a tourist visiting Asheville with her family from Savannah. “And the increase in the amount of crimes, it’s almost double. So, my question is, what’s changed.”

News 13 contacted Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer by email to ask if she was aware of the increasing crime rates, but an auto-reply email stated she was on vacation.

In a city that’s economy depends largely on tourism, the question remains what APD leaders believe may be causing the increase. Murders are up from five to eight between January and June in 2018. APD incorrectly reported 29 total rapes in the same 2018 time period, compared with 18 in 2017 during the same six-month window. Aggravated assaults are up by nearly 100 cases, along with the number of stolen cars.

In January, a thief stole an emerald with an estimated value of $10,000 from a case in the Asheville Science Museum.

“It was definitely super sad,” said Kimberly Clark, a manager at the popular tourist spot.

She said the thief has never been caught. She said she thought the theft could have happened when crowds were thin in the room where the stone was lifted from a plexiglass-glass case.

“You know, a single individual in the museum, we don’t have details.”

Audrey Lodato, a director at Brother Wolf Animal Rescue, said the center has had about three thefts this year. Someone broke in a shed and stole about $1,000 worth of lawnmowers, weed-wackers and other garden equipment.

“We also found out we had an employee stealing some money from our two businesses,” Lodato said.

Brother Wolf has a retail shop where it sells shirts, mugs and other souvenirs that help the animals. She said the former employee was taking cash for nightly deposits and keeping the money to the tune of about $6,000.

As for why theft from auto to burglary and larcenies are surging past ,3000 reports, Lodato stated what she said she and other staffers at the shelter have discussed about the costs living in Asheville.

“Generally, what we're hearing is Asheville is an expensive place to live, and people are having a hard time getting by on what it is that they're making.”

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