Aerial view of Asheville skyline in autumn

Is Asheville Safe for Travel? (Honest Local Advice)

👉 Jump to: Is Asheville Safe? | Safe Areas | Covid-19 | Crime | Scams | Weather | Houselessness | Water | Safety Tips | FAQ

I’m an Asheville native with solid data that will answer your question, “Is Asheville safe?” 

This guide addresses local crime rates, places to avoid, natural hazards, and more. I’m transparent about cautions to take in Asheville but can confirm that overall, it’s a safe destination. Follow my tips and insights so you can plan an incredible Asheville itinerary without worry. 

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Is Asheville Safe?

Signage of Asheville Police outside the downtown office
Asheville Police Department (photo: Kristy Blokhin / Shutterstock)

Asheville is a safe city to travel to overall. The most commonly seen issues include houselessness, mostly non-violent crimes, and outdoor recreation safety.

Generally speaking, Asheville is quite safe, especially when you compare Asheville vs Charlotte or larger cities Atlanta. You should be just fine as long as you exercise common sense and general safety precautions while visiting Asheville. 

The majority of crime in Asheville is nonviolent. This includes property crime, crime related to drugs, and other petty crimes. As for violent crime, aggravated assault is the main offense. The growing unhoused population is also something to be mindful of in downtown Asheville. 

As for outdoor recreational safety, know that Asheville has its fair share of insects, snakes, and wild animals like bears and coyotes. But generally, dangerous or life-threatening issues with these animals are rare.

Things to Know About Safety in Asheville

Safe Neighborhoods and Areas in Asheville

A man crossing the not so busy street of Asheville on a sunny day
Streets of Asheville (photo: Kristy Blokhin / Shutterstock)

Downtown Asheville is one of the safest areas in Asheville. This neighborhood is well-populated and is catered toward visitors and locals alike. 

This being said, 10% of Asheville’s violent crime does occur within this part of the city [source]. This statistic isn’t meant to scare you. However, it does serve as a reminder to be aware of your surroundings. The city of Asheville has recently taken additional measures with the Asheville police department to ensure community safety downtown. 

Other safe Asheville neighborhoods include popular areas like the River Arts District and Biltmore Village. Staying in smaller, nearby Western North Carolina towns like Black Mountain, Hendersonville, and Brevard are also great options for prioritizing safety.

Neighborhoods that have seen higher crime rates include East and West Asheville, Dearview, the Hillcrest area, and the areas near Aston Park Tower.

Covid-19 Safety in Asheville

Asheville, NC deals with Covid-19 on an ongoing and ever-changing basis. At this time, all masks, social distancing, and capacity restrictions in Asheville have been lifted. 

There’s no current need to worry about restrictions at popular establishments like breweries, coffee shops, and restaurants. Some places may still encourage masks but very few still require them, except for hospitals and clinics. 

Crime in Asheville

Closeup look at the police car on the street of Asheville
Asheville police are often seen patrolling the area (photo: Kristi Blokhin / Shutterstock)

Some reports have shown an increase in the violent crime rate in Asheville. However, these reports also reflect a national average uptick in crime from when the pandemic began. So, these numbers can be a bit misleading. 

The majority of crime in Asheville is nonviolent with the main type being property crime. The majority of violent crime in Asheville is aggravated assault. Although, gun violence has actually decreased in recent years. Asheville is a safe place to visit as long as you stay aware of your surroundings. 

Most importantly, be vigilant at night and in places like parking garages and alleys. It’s unlikely that you’d be a victim of a petty crime or something dangerous like aggravated assault if staying in popular Asheville areas. 

Common Scams in Asheville

At this time, Asheville doesn’t have many common scams that affect visitors. There are a couple of North Carolina scams that you may encounter, though.

The first is simple telemarketer calls. This is quite common in North Carolina. The second type of scam is a gas station scam. Someone may come up to you and tell you they don’t have enough to pay for gas and ask you for money. Incidents like this have been reported throughout North Carolina.

Hazardous Weather and Natural Disasters

View of the flooded road surrounded by lush greenery near Asheville
Road flooding near Asheville

Asheville, North Carolina is uniquely located in a region where the risk for natural disasters is low. This makes it a generally good place to visit year-round.

The most common natural disaster to occur is floods. These typically happen as a result of intense summer rainstorms. Sometimes, floods happen in conjunction with hurricanes on the coast. Other natural disasters that can happen but are rare, like tornadoes and wildfires. 


Asheville has seen a spike in its unhoused population in recent years. This is due to several factors and is something to be mindful of when you visit. 

Many houseless people hang around downtown, especially near Pritchard Park. You may also see unhoused people at stop lights and highway exits. Most often, money will be asked for if a houseless person approaches you. 

Is Tap Water Safe to Drink in Asheville?

A hand filling the glass with tap water
Safe drinking water

The tap water in Asheville is safe to drink. Manganese is the predominant mineral that is naturally found in local water reservoirs throughout Asheville and Buncombe County. Below 0.17 mg/L is what is recommended for drinking water. Asheville’s levels are typically below 0.05 mg/L. 

5 Safety Tips for Asheville

Tip #1 – Stay in Popular Areas

Exterior view of the Biltmore Village from across the street in Asheville
Biltmore Village (photo: nolichuckyjake / Shutterstock)

Staying in popular Asheville areas like downtown Asheville, Biltmore Village, and the River Arts District is a great way to stay safe while visiting Asheville. This is just because these areas are more populated and tend to have safety and security resources in place.  

Tip #2 – Lock Your Doors

A hand locking the car with remote car key
Always lock your doors

Property crime makes up the majority of nonviolent crime in Asheville. Locking your car doors and doors to your accommodation is one of the best and easiest safety measures you can take. 

Stow away any items that might be seen as valuable when parking your car. This includes phone chords, electronics, cash, etc. And always be sure you’ve locked the doors, too. The same goes for doors and windows at your accommodation. Another safety measure you can take is using a portable door lock.

Tip #3 – Don’t Climb on or Near Waterfalls

A man admiring the High Falls in DuPont State Forest on a sunny day
High Falls in DuPont State Forest

Waterfalls are beautiful attractions, and there are so many amazing waterfalls near Asheville. But unfortunately, people get injured and sometimes killed at waterfalls each year in the Asheville area. Sadly, most accidents of these are preventable. This is why it’s so important to listen to the signs that are posted. 

There are some basic waterfall safety rules to follow. One, stay on designated trails and adhere to signage. Two, never jump off or attempt to climb a waterfall. Three, watch your footing and be mindful of slick rocks and your general surroundings. Lastly, keep a close eye on children and pets. 

Tip #4 – Practice Trail Safety

View of the marked signs on the trail in Asheville
Follow marked signs (photo: ehrlif / Shutterstock)

Hiking is one of the best things to do in Asheville and there are so many trails near Asheville to choose from. Keep yourself and your loved ones safe and healthy by adhering to basic trail safety. 

First and foremost, know what trail you’re on and be sure to look at a map before you begin your hike. Snapping a photo of the map is a good idea. Adhere to posted signage and stay on marked trails. It’s also smart to carry water, a cell phone or GPS, and other necessary hiking gear. 

👉 Pro Tip: Read this Blue Ridge Parkway trail safety guide from the National Park Service for a full list of guidelines.

Tip #5 – Don’t Go Out at Night by Yourself

Night view of the fountain and illuminated buildings at Pack Square
Pack Square at night

The majority of crime in Asheville happens late at night, as is the case with most cities. I recommend going out with a group of people if you plan on partaking in any nightlife. 

Other things you can do to stay safe at night include staying in well-lit areas, opting to take an Uber instead of walking, and being aware of your surroundings instead of looking at your phone.  

FAQs About Asheville Safety

Is Asheville, NC a safe area?

Asheville, North Carolina is a safe area. According to statistics, Asheville’s violent crime rate is higher than the national average. Many factors play into these violent offenses, however. Overall, Asheville is a safe destination to visit.  

Is it safe to walk in downtown Asheville?

It is safe to walk in downtown Asheville. Downtown is Asheville’s main tourist hub, so it’s chock full of restaurants, shops, and things to do. Just be mindful of walking downtown at night. 

How does Asheville, NC rank in crime?

Asheville, North Carolina saw a 31% increase in violent crime as of 2020. This led to Asheville being ranked with a higher violent crime rate than the national average.


Hopefully, you found this guide helpful in answering your question, “Is Asheville safe?” There are safety concerns, but you shouldn’t be deterred from visiting. 

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  1. Asheville is not safe. You will find used needles and other drug paraphernalia in parks, doorways of businesses, etc. crimes have increased, as well as robberies and other violent crimes . Drug use is extreme

    1. For real. I ensure I’m strapped in Asheville as much as if I’m in Houston. A lot of Asheville residents have a tendency to downplay the issues in the city. We got out of dodge and into a smaller town nearby. Much, much safer.

    2. Hi Diane, Thank you for sharing your perspective. Asheville does have its fair share of crime-related issues (as outlined in this article), but by taking some basic safety precautions, residents and visitors alike can enjoy a safe time in Asheville.

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