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Tipsheet

Seattle Business Owners Fed Up With Crime Are ‘Begging for Help’ From City Government

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Business owners in Seattle, Washington who are outraged about the city’s rampant crime put together a town hall meeting to discuss the danger they face in day-to-day life and call on city leaders to get a handle on crime. 

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The town hall was hosted at a local barber shop. At the meeting, owner Matt Humphrey said he “[doesn’t] want to be silent anymore” about the issue of crime, according to KOMO News.

Karen Jahn, a business owner, said that her company, The Wax Bar, has experienced four break-ins.

“When we’re making our insurance claims, it’s really hard because we’re at the point where they could drop us,” Jahn said. 

Other business owners discussed if they will be able to keep their businesses open in the city in the foreseeable future. 

“Our crew are often left to deal with increasingly aggressive behavior,” Steve Naramore, who owns a coffee shop called Sip and Ship, explained.

“A common position for one of our baristas is to stand by the front door with her hands on the deadbolt lock because somebody is pacing back and forth in crisis in front of the store, and we’re just worried, terrified, that they’re going to come in and we don’t know really what’s going to happen from there,” he added.

“Seattle City Council’s number one job should be to protect the citizens of Seattle," Kevin Rinderle with Yukon Trading Company said at the meeting. "We’re here collectively begging for help.”

Citywide Seattle Councilmember Sara Nelson, a Democrat, was in attendance at the meeting.

Late last year, Townhall covered how a business in Portland, Oregon was forced to close its doors permanently after repeated break-ins left it “financially gutted” and unable to operate. 

The store, RAINS PDX, closed abruptly after multiple break-ins over the last year and a half. A posting on the front of the store explained that the ongoing criminal behavior that goes unpunished leads to repeat break-ins and puts the security of the workers at risk.

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“RAINS PDX was a locally-owned small business. But, due to the constant, and unrelenting, criminal behavior, coupled with escalating safety issues for our employees, we have decided to permanently close,” the statement posted on the front doors said.

“Our city is in peril,” the statement continued. “Small businesses (and large) cannot sustain doing business in our city’s current state. We have no protection, or recourse, against the criminal behavior that goes unpunished. Do not be fooled into thinking that insurance companies cover losses. We have sustained 15 break-ins…we have not received any financial reimbursement since the 3rd.”

At one point, the business owner reached out to Democratic Mayor Tim Wheeler’s office over the break-ins. His office claimed that they were working toward increasing funds for business repair grants. 

"Paying for glass that’s great, but that is so surface and does nothing for the root cause of the problem, so it’s never going to change," the business owner, Marcy Landolfo said.

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