Staff at a popular business in downtown Seattle said they witnessed a slew of criminal activity within just a few hours of reopening this week after being closed for months. It’s part of an ongoing problem in the city, as surging crime and a lack of police resources have downtown businesses pleading with the city council to make changes.
Piroshky Piroshky, a Russian-style Seattle bakery chain, opened the doors of its 3rd Avenue and Pike Street location at dawn on Monday after being closed for months, only to be greeted with violence.
“The staff said within three hours of the opening, they saw a drug deal, indecent exposure, and a police standoff with someone waving a knife,” KCPQ-TV reported.
“Police presence all over. We look out the window and there’s a man brandishing a knife. They pull out their guns, they’re telling this man to drop the weapon,” Brian Amaya, the company’s director of operations, told the news outlet. “There are drug users, people trying to steal food from our display case here — they reach in and try to grab it.”
Seattle businesses calling on city, police to take action against rising crime | Q13 FOX Seattle
Amaya, along with the owner of the restaurant, Olgoa Sagan, said the rampant crime and lawlessness are nothing new. The bakery shuttered in March after federal stimulus money ran low, but Sagan noted that staffers were also looking forward to a break from the violence downtown. Unfortunately, that same level of violence greeted employees on their first day back on the job.
“I think that’s the scary part, that we’re so now accustomed to this kind of level of crime and lawlessness around this area,” Sagan said.
“Sadly, it was kind of more of the same of what we expected,” Amaya added.
In a tweet Monday, Piroshky Piroshky called on the city council to meet with businesses to come up with a plan to address the crime problem, asking, “How does downtown come back without businesses?”
In conversation with KCPQ, Sagan said that Seattle’s government leaders have essentially abandoned them.
“Downtown is still in trouble, we’re still having issues, there’s still safety concerns, we still need police presence here, we still need help here,” Sagan said. “It’s scary that the King County building — they all were sent home. I mean, government officials keep running away from the city. What is left for us to do?”
Piroshky Piroshky is not the only organization complaining. Seattle’s Downtown Business Association said in a statement that help is needed for the city’s downtown to recover, including more policing.
“Our city and county elected leaders need a plan for addressing problems that only seem to be getting worse. Decisions made at the city level have, in part, led to Seattle Police staffing shortages. Will City Council mitigate or exacerbate the situation?” the association reportedly said.