It was once known as a premier tourist destination.
But it has since seen a 31% surge in violent crime within five years.
And now the city known as America’s “Paris of the South” looks more like a third world country after years of Democrats’ extreme policies.
North Carolina is known for its many tourist areas.
Most people know about the Outer Banks and the beaches there.
But many don’t realize that in western North Carolina sits a city that draws tens of thousands of tourists a year.
Or at least it used to.
The “Paris of the South”
Asheville, North Carolina is a city in western North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains.
Due to its vibrant arts scene and historic architecture, including the dome-topped Basilica of Saint Lawrence, it’s become known as the “Paris of the South.”
Tourists and high rollers can also visit the vast 19th-century Biltmore estate displaying artwork by masters like Renoir.
The city’s Downtown Art District is filled with galleries and museums, and in the nearby River Arts District, there are former factory buildings that house artists’ studios.
But recently, the city has become just another Democrat-run town being destroyed by pro-crime policies.
The Democrat leadership of Asheville embraced the anti-police, pro-criminal policies of major cities that are wreaking havoc across the nation.
Crime surges as police are handcuffed
Multiple local law enforcement sources who spoke to Fox News Digital laid most of the blame for the deteriorating condition on the city’s Democrat political leadership and on left-wing activists who constantly undermine police.
“I think what you’re seeing in Asheville right now is a culmination of the last several years of pulling police back and not letting them do their jobs like they’re able to do,” former Buncombe County Sheriff Van Duncan told Fox News Digital.
Asheville, a city of approximately 90,000 people has seen a shocking 31% surge in violent crime from 2016 to 2020.
Asheville’s increase in violent crime is almost double that of the national average and ranks among the highest in North Carolina.
Asheville has had 11 homicides already in 2022, putting it on pace to surpass the homicide rate of both 2021 and 2020.
And the homelessness rate has increased by a staggering 21% since 2021.
Not all crime is local
Most concerning to law enforcement is the growing evidence of increased Mexican drug cartel activity in the area.
And as Democrats’ anti-police policies continue to run amok, both the Asheville Police Department and the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department have been hemorrhaging officers in recent years.
Many in law enforcement are retiring early or even just simply quitting.
This isn’t surprising given that the Asheville Police Department made international headlines in June 2021 after announcing they would no longer respond in-person to 911 calls about theft, fraud, or trespassing.
That has left an opening for violent gangs and criminals from around the world to gain a foothold in the foothills of North Carolina with Asheville as their base.
Former Sheriff Duncan, who was a longtime registered Democrat, retired as Sheriff and also became politically unaffiliated.
He cited “an anti-law enforcement sentiment in the Democratic Party right now,” according to the Asheville Citizen-Times.
He told Fox News Digital that officers both locally and around the country have become hesitant to do their jobs “because they can be right, but it can be the wrong set of facts, and they can still wind up in trouble.”
Duncan further stated that when he was serving as county Sheriff, “left-wing activists” from outside the community would sweep in to disrupt community meetings.
“They would really try to get into it with the police, and a lot of times, they would try to shout down things,” he said. “And the first people who quit coming to those meetings were the people within the community. They really didn’t get to speak, and they really didn’t get anything done.”
“Personally, I think that is the agenda of the Left: for law enforcement not to be able to do anything that’s effective and makes the community safer,” he added.
Unless things turn around in Asheville, the “Paris of the South” will soon become known as the “Beirut of the South.”
US Political Daily will keep you up-to-date on any developments to this ongoing story.