A business owner in Seattle warned that the city is in the midst of a “criminal and humanitarian” emergency, as businesses all across the city are forced to shut down due to an ongoing rise in violent crime.
Bakery owner Olga Sagan spoke to Fox News after she closed one of her three Piroshky Piroshky stores in February, as the location on Pike Place saw multiple shootings and instances of drug use in the area. Sagan, who immigrated from Russia, first began selling traditional Russian pastries and other baked goods in Seattle in 1992.
“We have a criminal and humanitarian emergency in the city,” Sagan said in an interview with Fox. Sagan said that although Seattle has always had a problem with drugs and crime, it was “still tolerable” before the COVID pandemic hit, which led to the city being totally locked down for months.
“As COVID came in and downtown emptied out,” Sagan explained, “I feel like the criminal activity has really taken over the streets.”
“We ended up dealing with people selling drugs, [and] buying drugs” in broad daylight, Sagan continued. “It was to the point where it’s an open drug market.”
The Seattle Police Department (SPD) end-of-year crime report for 2021 confirmed what Sagan and other business owners have been warning about. In the year 2021, Seattle saw a 20 percent increase in violent crime, the highest level in 14 years, as well as a 24 percent rise in aggravated assaults and an 18 percent increase in robberies.
In the area near Third Avenue and Pine Street, multiple violent altercations have occurred over the last month. On March 2nd, a 15-year-old boy was shot and killed. On March 5th, a man was gunned down by police after he rammed his car into a federal building and discharged a rifle. As a result, numerous large businesses, including Amazon and McDonald’s, have shut down their operations in the area.