The Asheville, North Carolina Police Department will NOT personally respond to 911 calls about theft, fraud

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The police department in one of America’s fastest-growing cities has suffered such a severe staff shortage that it does not respond to certain 911 calls, including complaints of burglaries, theft, property damage, identity theft or trespassing.

The Asheville, North Carolina Police Department said it has lost 84 officers as of January 1, 2020.

APD police chief David Zack says attrition, which has increased since protests against law enforcement became rife in the wake of George Floyd’s death in May last year, has reached crisis proportions.

He said there is a need to stop responding personally to minor offenses so that response times to more serious crimes can be shortened.

“This is what it looks like when you’re this down, when you lose 50% of your detectives,” Zack told Asheville City Council on Tuesday.

According to the Asheville Citizen Times, experts warn that failure to respond to low-level nonviolent crimes could lead to an escalation of more serious offenses.

Police in Asheville, North Carolina will not personally respond to low-level nonviolent crime to reduce response times for more serious violations, the chief of police told local lawmakers earlier this week.

Police in Asheville, North Carolina will not personally respond to low-level nonviolent crime to reduce response times for more serious violations, the chief of police told local lawmakers earlier this week.

The police station in one of America's fastest-growing cities faces a staff shortage so severe that it fails to respond to certain 911 calls, including complaints of burglary, theft, property damage, identity theft, or trespassing

The police department in one of America’s fastest-growing cities has suffered such a serious staff shortage that it does not respond to certain 911 calls, including complaints of burglary, theft, property damage, identity theft or trespassing

However, local activists dispute this, saying the violent crime rate in Asheville has not increased as feared.

As a result, they believe it is best to leave any vacancies in the police force unfilled.

‘A 50% reduction in detectives and 30% reduction in officers and no change in crime? Good,” said a citizen who calls himself Jose as he called the city council.

‘Half their budget halved. That’s all the justification you need.’

Before Floyd’s fatal arrest in Minneapolis last May, the turnover of APD officers was one per month.

In the four months after Floyd’s death, churn rose to 7.5 per month.

The latest figures quoted by Citizen Times show that staff turnover remains high – around six agents per month.

The APD’s $30 million budget allocates funds to fill 238 officer positions. By Saturday, however, only 167 of those jobs had been filled.

An APD spokesperson said that of the 167 officials currently employed, only 148 of them are able to work due to vacations and other forms of leave.

APD police chief David Zack says attrition, which has increased since protests against law enforcement became rife in the wake of George Floyd's death in May last year, has reached crisis proportions.  The image above shows a protest in Asheville on June 6

APD police chief David Zack says attrition, which has increased since protests against law enforcement became rife in the wake of George Floyd’s death in May last year, has reached crisis proportions. The image above shows a protest in Asheville on June 6

After George Floyd's death in Minneapolis last year, activists demanded a 50 percent cut in the police budget.  The city council voted to reallocate 3 percent of the APD's $30 million budget.  Protesters can be seen above in Asheville on July 30 after the budget was approved

After George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis last year, activists demanded a 50 percent cut in the police budget. The city council voted to reallocate 3 percent of the APD’s $30 million budget. Protesters can be seen above in Asheville on July 30 after the budget was approved

Last fall, when activists demanded hefty cuts to the APD, the city council voted to reallocate about $700,000 of the police budget — or about 3 percent, far less than the 50 percent cut demanded by protesters and activists.

According to Zack, turnover and staff shortages have led to longer response times in the event of calamities.

Before Floyd’s death, APD officers took an average of 7.7 minutes to respond to serious crimes such as murders or gunshot wounds during peak hours between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., Zack said.

Last April, the response time increased by almost three minutes to 10.6 minutes.

Zack said that to reduce response times, APD would no longer personally respond to various types of low-level complaints. Anyone who calls 911 to complain about noise can expect “significant” delays, Zack says.

The police chief said it could take “many, many” months to fill most or all of the open spaces.

ASHEVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT SAYS IT’S CLOSING SERVICES AS PERSONNEL SHORT CONTINUES

The Asheville Police Department in North Carolina will no longer personally respond to the following 911 complaints:

Theft of less than $1,000 with no suspicious information (this does not include stolen vehicles or weapons).

Theft from a vehicle that has no suspicious information.

Minimal damage and/or graffiti on properties where there is no suspicious information.

Non-life-threatening harassing phone calls (excluding incidents related to domestic violence and/or stalking).

Fraud, scam or identity theft.

Simple attacks that are reported after they happen.

Reports that do not require immediate police action and/or enforcement (only informational reports).

Funeral attendants.

Lost/found property.

Enter where the owner does not want to make a declaration.

People can still report the crimes, but must online tool. People without internet can call APD’s non-emergency number: 828-252-1110.

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