Amazon is pulling its workforce from the company’s downtown Seattle office after a spike in violent crime in recent weeks. At least three shootings, two stabbings and a carjacking near the Amazon office since February 21 prompted the move, which company officials say is temporary.
The office has 1,800 employees. And while many still work remotely, the on-site workers are being relocated to an “alternative office space elsewhere,” according to a company spokesperson.
A 15-year-old boy was shot and killed on the street next to the online retailer’s downtown office on March 2, and just two days later a homeless man was stabbed in his sleep. In late February, another man was killed in the vicinity.
Earlier this year an Amazon engineer was struck in the head with a baseball bat while walking downtown, and an armed man was shot and killed by police after ramming his vehicle into a Federal building in the area and firing his rifle.
The new year has picked up where 2021 left off, which was setting a 14-year high for crime with an overall 20% increase over 2020. Seattle police report a 40% increase in shootings and shots fired calls and a staggering 122% increase in homeless-related shootings. Is it any wonder Amazon’s workforce wants to get away from a war zone?
Seattle, a poster child for the disastrous “defund the police” movement, is governed by a city council that elected to slash police funding this year by over $7 million – in an 8-1 vote! And this came on the heels of the council cutting the 2021 police budget by almost $35.6 million from its 2019 level, which comes to roughly 9% of its budget.
In the wake of the “Defund SPD” movement and the ensuing mass exodus from the force, the Seattle Police Department has 237 open jobs and plans to hire 125 officers in 2022. Former Mayor Jenny Durkan’s proposed budget had earmarked $10 million for such positive tools as hiring bonuses, but the council cut that out.
Durkan did not seek reelection.
Amazon and other downtown businesses are hardly immune from the obvious results of the liberal city’s policies, and 2021 elections brought a wave of more moderate politicians into office. New Mayor Bruce Harrell ran on the promise of adding police rather than cutting funding, and if Amazon and other companies are to stay in Seattle’s downtown, supporting law enforcement is a strong first step.