Amazon announced on Friday that it has decided to relocate office staff in downtown Seattle due to a sustained uptick in violent crime, with other businesses in the area opting to stick with remote work for the same reason.
The location that office workers are being moved from employees around 1,800 people, the company confirmed to KOMO News. However, it is currently unclear how many are being relocated as many have continued to work remotely since the start of the pandemic two years ago.
The spike in the city’s violent crime hit a new peak on March 2, when 15-year-old Michael del Bianco was shot and killed at the intersection of 3rd Avenue and Pike Street, which is where Amazon’s office building is located. In order to address the issues plaguing the area, the Seattle Police Department set up a mobile precinct at the intersection and increased its number of patrolling bike cops.
“Given recent incidents near 3rd and Pine, we’re providing employees currently at that location with alternative office space elsewhere,” an Amazon spokesman told KOMO News in a statement. “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.”
Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell’s office said in a statement that the mayor “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,” the statement continued, according to KOMO News . “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.”
Numerous other businesses have closed due to the recent spike in crime, including Qumulo, a cloud technology firm, and Piroshky Piroshky, a popular Russian bakery, according to a local NBC affiliate. McDonald’s also confirmed the closure of its downtown Seattle locations, citing an inability to keep its workers 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 temporarily closed our restaurant located at 1530 Third Avenue following last week’s shooting.”