(DailyDig.com) – In 2022, Seattle and King County had over 13,000 homeless individuals, more than any other similar location except Los Angeles County and New York City, and the Seattle Police Department lost over 130 policemen as killings, shootings, and automobile thefts soared.
Local business owners allege that the police force is failing to stop increased drug use and thievery. Business owners held a town hall-style gathering to discuss the violence and danger they see and to urge the local administration to act.
Last year, Seattle saw a 23% surge in deadly shootings. The city is also dealing with increased homelessness, drug usage, and dwindling pedestrian traffic as a result of the epidemic.
On Tuesday, January 17, Yukon Trading Company’s Kevin Rinderle said during the meeting, “Seattle City Council’s number one job should be to protect the citizens of Seattle. We’re here collectively begging for help.”
Matt Humphrey, owner of Steele Barber and Spa, said that he scheduled the event for people to discuss potential solutions to crime concerns as companies deal with frequent break-ins, vandalism, drug usage, violence, and homelessness.
Several business owners at the meeting addressed their complaints to Seattle Councilmember Sara Nelson, who is herself a small business owner.
Steve Naramore, the owner of Sip and Ship, said that it has become standard practice for his staff to stand watch at the shop’s door and lock it if they sense a potentially dangerous individual approaching.
According to Burke Lyman of Ascent Outdoors, criminality in the city may cause the company to close its doors. They wish to stay at their current location for as long as possible, yet they must do what is required for their organization.
The business owners proposed remedies such as additional policemen patrolling the area and how to treat a stranger who looked to be in trouble outside a store.
Councilmember Nelson said that she heard the business owners’ anxieties and that this is what keeps her awake at night since the city must not lose any more enterprises.
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