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Amazon relocating 1,800 employees out of downtown Seattle due to spiking crime

Over the past few years, the area has seen increased open air drug use, fencing of stolen goods, shootings, carjackings and other violent crimes. Since Feb. 21, there have been three shootings, two stabbings and a carjacking, leading to an increase in businesses shutting down in the area.

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Ari Hoffman Seattle WA
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Amazon is temporarily relocating workers out of a downtown Seattle office due to ongoing violent crimes.

According to a statement emailed from the tech giant to Bloomberg, "Given recent incidents near Third and Pine, we're providing employees currently at that location with alternative office space elsewhere. We are hopeful that conditions will improve and that we will be able to bring employees back to this location when it is safe to do so."

Approximately 1,800 Amazon employees are assigned to the office located at 300 Pine St. in the heart of downtown above the city's flagship Macy's department store location. Many of the employees are still working remotely due to the pandemic but have begun coming back to work several days per week.

Over the past few years, the area has seen increased open air drug use, fencing of stolen goods, shootings, carjackings and other violent crimes. Since Feb. 21, there have been three shootings, two stabbings and a carjacking, leading to an increase in businesses shutting down in the area.

Earlier this month, Piroshky Piroshky owner Olga Sagan told The Ari Hoffman show on Talk Radio 570 KVI they closed their location nearby at 3rd Ave and Pike St. because the area is no longer safe for her employees.

The flagship McDonald's in downtown Seattle also closed with no notice the day after Piroshky Piroshky shuttered, stating that they could not guarantee the safety of their employees and customers.

Mayor Bruce Harrell's office sent a statement to KOMO News regarding Amazon's announcement of relocating the employees which said, "Mayor Harrell is working every day to make downtown a safe and thriving neighborhood for residents, workers, and businesses. While it will take time to reverse longstanding safety issues, Mayor Harrell's early efforts are critical first steps to address crime and improve safety through dedicated SPD officers, a mobile SPD precinct, and additional environmental changes. Mayor Harrell will continue to develop a comprehensive approach to public safety in collaboration with police and safety advocates, community members, service providers, and businesses, including Amazon, to activate, revitalize, and restore downtown for all."

Last week, Harrell announced emphasis patrols on crime "hot spots" including 3rd and Pike while touting multiple arrests at 12th and Jackson the week before, another notorious intersection for crime. However, even before the presser, almost half of those arrested were released due to Seattle's revolving door justice system.

This is yet another blow to Amazon's Seattle footprint. In 2019, the tech giant announced that thousands of employees would be moved from Seattle to nearby Bellevue, Washington, and the opening of other locations across the US.

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