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The Daily Planet's Opinion: How will Asheville prosper if its national rankings drop?
Friday, 16 October 2020 22:08

A downtown Asheville merchant contacted the Daily Planet in early October to alert us that had published — briefly — negative comments from recent visitors urging folks NOT to visit Asheville because of the protests that sometimes have turned violent, with looting and property damage, in the downtown area ... coupled with defunding of our police force by city officials.

However, the merchant, requesting anonymity, said the next time he looked, the negative comments had been purged — and the city had returned to being rated a terrific choice for daytrippers or tourists. The merchant wondered if pressure had been brought to bear by the “powers-that-be’ in Asheville to brazenly force up the city’s ratings. 

Then there’s the Sept. 10 press release from AdvisorSmith in which the agency unveiled its newest report on the “Safest Cities in North Carolina.” 

AdvisorSmith conducted a research study where “crime scores were calculated for each city — and the cities were ranked to find the safest places in North Carolina.” The study analyzed 17 large, 57 midsize and 174 small cities. 

To our utter shock, the research discovered that Asheville ranks a lowly 16th out of the 17 largest cities in North Carolina in terms of violent and property crimes. The report adds:

“Asheville had a total crime score of 112.4, which was above the average of 74 in large North Carolina cities with over 100,000 residents.”

The report found that “Asheville’s violent crime rate was 26.2 per 1000 residents, compared with an average of 17.3 per 1000 in large North Carolina cities.

“The city’s property crime rate was 51.4 per 1000 residents. Statewide, the average property crime rate in large cities was 29.8 per 1000.”

Anecdotally, the Daily Planet has heard lately from lots of Asheville and Buncombe County natives who declare— privately — that they despise what downtown has become (in their view...  a cesspool of anarchy and violence) and swear never to visit or support  downtown again.

We urge those who care about Asheville to express their views to city leaders to do what’s needed to restore and protect the public safety and reputation of the “Paris of the South.”



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