Reports indicate that crime is on the rise in the city of Seattle. So much so that business owners in the city called an urgent meeting on Tuesday in a barber shop to speak out about the danger and violence plaguing the city. They also called on the city leadership to come to their assistance in the ongoing crisis.
Business owner, Kevin Rinderle, reminded the Seattle City Council of their primary job of protecting the citizens. “We have collectively gathered here to beg for help,” said Rinderle, who runs the Yukon Trading Company.
The meeting was organized by Matt Humphrey, who owns the Steele Barber and Spa. According to Humphrey, the goal of the meeting was to speak out against the rising crime issue in the face of widespread break-ins, violence, and vandalism. The city is also struggling against rising cases of drug use and homelessness. As Humphrey stated, when it comes to crime, people should no longer remain silent but speak out against the vice.
Councilmember Sara Nelson, who was in attendance and a business owner herself faced a barrage of grievances from several business owners including Karen Jahn of Wax Bar that has allegedly been broken into four times. She expressed concerns about making insurance claims repeatedly fearing that the insurer might drop them out altogether if the break-ins persist.
Sara Nelson noted that she had heard all the concerns expressed by the business owners and as a business owner herself and chair of economic development stated that the city cannot afford to lose any more business because of rampant crime.
Some businesses are even taking security matters into their hands. For example, Steve Naramore of the Sip and Ship coffee hybrid store claimed that they now need to have employees standing guard at the door of the store ready to lock in with a deadbolt if they see a suspicious character approaching.
According to Naramore, they have to deal with increasingly aggressive behavior so much that it is common practice for a barista to stand guard at the front door with hands ready o the deadbolt lock. “We are terrified that they may enter and can’t tell what will happen when they do,” said Naramore. The crime in the city may soon force some businesses to pack and leave.
Seattle Violent Crime Spike
In the last few years, Seattle has had to confront the problem of rising cases of violent crime. For instance, fatal shootings increased by 23% last year. The crime wave has not spared major brands as well.
The Seattle Credit Union was forced to close two branches due to low traffic in areas with safety concerns. Starbucks, which is headquartered in Seattle, closed down 6 locations across the city in 2022 citing safety concerns.
Search for Solutions
Several suggestions were offered at the meeting to help curb the rising incidents of criminal activity in the city.
Some business owners suggested bringing in more foot police patrols while others called on the city to reimburse businesses for the losses they undergo whenever they are vandalized.
The business owners also shared helpful tips and advice on how to help a stranger in distress outside their business premises.