Asheville, North Carolina just got a whole lot more dangerous. The fast-growing city’s police department announced that they’ll no longer be sending officers for certain 911 calls because the department is experiencing a staffing shortage. Scores of cops have quit the force since January 2020 and the people of Asheville are noticing the impact on their daily lives.
APD Police Chief David Zack (pictured below) attributes the protests in response to the murder of George Floyd for the mass exodus of law enforcement officers. The North Carolina city has such a poor attrition rate that they’ve decided to stop providing essential services to residents because they just don’t have enough cops to respond to every 911 call that comes in to the dispatcher.
Zack ordered his officers to stop responding to low-level offences so they could focus on the more serious crimes being committed in the city.
“This is what it looks like when you’re down this much, when you lose 50% of your detectives,” Zack told members of the Asheville City Council on Tuesday.
Experts disagree with Zach’s approach, claiming that the absence of police will lead to more crimes across the city.
Zach no longer wants his officers responding “to the following types of crimes:”
- Theft under $1,000 where there is no suspect information (this does not include stolen vehicles or guns)
- Theft from a vehicle where there is no suspect information
- Minimal damage and/or graffiti to property where there is no suspect information
- Non-life threatening harassing phone calls (does not include incidents that are related to domestic violence and/or stalking
- Fraud, scams, or identity theft
- Simple assaults that are reported after they have occurred
- Reports that do not require immediate police actions and/or enforcement (information only reports)
- Funeral escorts
- Lost/found property
- Trespassing where the property owner does not want to press charges
Zack’s department also noted that “noise complaints made during normal business hours and after-hours may have a significant delay in response.”
Will Asheville, North Carolina turn into a lawless town under the leadership of Police Chief Zack? Experts fear that with little police presence in the town, crime rates will soar as people take advantage of the slow police response and lack of response to many calls.
Asheville Police Department continues to lose about six officers every month, according to data obtained by Citizen Times. With a budget of $30 million, Asheland Police Department started the year looking to fill 238 officer positions. As of Saturday, only about 167 of those jobs had been filled.
Before police officers started quitting the force, Asheland Police Department took 7.7 minutes to get an officer to the scene of a crime. Now, it takes the cops closer to 10.6 minutes to respond to calls.
However, some people say that despite the decrease in police officers, violent offenses have not increased. These people believe that the unfilled jobs should remain unfilled.
“A 50% reduction in detectives and 30% reduction in officers and no change in crime? Good,” one citizen said during the City Council meeting. “Cut their budget in half. That’s all the justification you need.”
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