Amazon announced on Friday that it has decided to relocate office staff to downtown Seattle due to a sustained increase in violent crime, as other businesses in the area opted to stick to remote work for the same reason.
The location from which office workers are relocated employs about 1,800 people, the company confirmed to KOMO News. However, it is currently unknown how many people are being relocated, as many have continued to work remotely since the pandemic began two years ago.
The surge in violent crime in the city hit a new high on March 2, when 15-year-old Michael del Bianco was shot and killed at the intersection of 3rd Avenue and Pike Street, where the apartment building is located. Amazon offices. In an effort to address the issues plaguing the area, the Seattle Police Department implemented a mobile precinct at the intersection and increased its number of bike patrols.
“Given recent incidents near 3rd and Pine, we are providing employees currently at this location with alternate offices elsewhere,” an Amazon spokesperson told KOMO News in a statement. “We hope that conditions will improve and that we will be able to return employees to this location when it is safe to do so.”
Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell’s office said in a statement that the mayor “works every day to make downtown a safe and prosperous neighborhood for residents, workers and businesses. »
“While it will take time to reverse long-standing security issues, Mayor Harrell’s initial efforts are essential first steps in tackling crime and improving security through dedicated SPD officers, a mobile SPD neighborhood and additional environmental changes,” the statement continued, according to KOMO News. . “Mayor Harrell will continue to develop a comprehensive approach to public safety in collaboration with law enforcement and safety advocates, community members, service providers and businesses, including Amazon, to activate, revitalize and restore downtown for everyone.”
Many other businesses have closed due to the recent crime spike, including Piroshky Piroshky, a popular Russian bakery, according to a local NBC affiliate. McDonald’s also confirmed the closure of its downtown Seattle locations, citing a failure to keep its employees safe.
“My top priority is the health and safety of our employees and customers,” franchise owner and operator David Santillanes said in a statement to KOMO News. “Out of concern for the safety of our employees and customers, we have temporarily closed our restaurant located at 1530 Third Avenue following the shooting last week.”
Updated at 6:50 p.m., 03/22/2022: Corrected reference to business that had not closed.