ASHEVILLE – Confirming public suspicions, police have announced that car thefts are at a six-year high.
The APD tallied thefts of motor vehicles, thefts of bicycles and thefts from motor vehicles for each month in 2019 and compared the result to 2014-2018 averages, as detailed in an Aug. 14 press release.
Asheville social media has been aflutter with reports of stolen cars for weeks. The report reveals that there have been an average of 38 auto thefts a month in 2019, a significant jump from the 2014-18 average of 22 a month from January to July.
Larceny from a motor vehicle, or MV B&Es, have spiked from about 59 a month in 2014-18 to over 95 per month so far in 2019. By the end of July last year, there had been 411 MV B&Es. In 2019, there had already been 670.
Bike owners may have it worst — bikes stolen per month has more than doubled in 2019, up to 20 a month. In July, 45 bikes were reported stolen.
Although the public tends to point to West Asheville as a hotspot for vehicle thefts, the problem doesn’t stop east of the French Broad, according to APD spokeswoman Jerri Jameson.
“While property crimes often trend in one place and then another, it is fair to say that property crimes are happening all across Asheville,” Jameson wrote in the release.
Common sense and serial numbers
No shockers among the APD’s safety tips: park your vehicle in a well-lit area, hide valuables, keep cars locked and bikes secured to an immovable object.
APD also urges bike owners to record serial numbers on inventory sheets — available for download from an insurance website or pickup at APD headquarters.
“Bicycles, in particular, can be painted over very easily,” Jameson wrote. “Without a serial number, it is nearly impossible to prove that a specific bicycle was the one stolen.”
Decoys and contact info
In addition to heightened patrolling, APD will continue to deploy decoy cars and bikes in the hopes of catching would-be burglars.
The report advises using APD’s non-emergency number, 828-252-1110, to report suspicious activity.