A North Carolina police department will no longer respond to certain 911 calls due to a “staffing crisis.”
The Asheville Police Department (APD) announced Wednesday the department has lost 84 officers since Jan. 1, 2020, and is currently experiencing a “staffing crisis.” In order to “improve response times,” the APD announced they will no longer respond to a slew of crimes, including theft.
Among the crimes that will not receive a response is “theft under $1,000 where there is no suspect information.” Police said the exception is if the theft involves a vehicle or a stolen gun. APD will not respond to “minimal” property damage or graffiti where there is no suspect information.
Other calls such as “non-life-threatening harassing phone calls” (unrelated to stalking or domestic violence), “simple assaults that are reported after they have occurred,” reports that don’t require immediate attention, and trespassing calls where the property owner does not want to press charges will not receive a response.
Since 1/1/20 APD has lost 84 officers. As a result, several changes in officer response will go into effect immediately to improve response times for emergency calls made to 911. #avlnews@WLOS_13 @asheville @wyffnews4 @WSPA7 @foxcarolinanews @SpecNews1MTN @newsradio570 pic.twitter.com/WBiSZOifFB
— Asheville Police (@AshevillePolice) June 2, 2021
Victims of the aforementioned crimes can use the department’s online reporting tool to file a report. (RELATED: Rep. Cori Bush Wants To ‘Defund The Police’ But Spent Taxpayer Money On Private Security For Herself)
Police Chief David Zack told News 13 there is no easy solution to the shortage of officers.
“There’s no quick fix. There’s no magic wand. There’s no magic pill that’s going to change this overnight.”
The changes come as the city experiences a rise in crimes. Asheville ranked in the top 10% of most violent cities in the U.S., according to a recent study from 24/7 Wall St., an independent financial news and opinion site.
Residents are worried about the spike in crime and changes to police response, according to News 13.
“I thought Asheville was one of the safest cities for a long time, but lately there’s been a lot of crime and shootings,” resident and business owner Deborah Coule reportedly said.
The city council voted to decrease the police budget by 3% in September, The Asheville Citizen-Times reported. Approximately $770,000 was slashed from the budget.