Seattle’s surging violent crime problem has led the flagship downtown McDonald’s restaurant to close its doors because its management cannot ensure the safety of employees or customers.
The restaurant shut down operations last week without notice after a particularly violent weekend nearby. The owner/operator of the franchised location, David Santillanes, issued a press statement last week that said his top priority is the health and safety of his employees and customers. He said that the store was “temporarily closed” out of that concern. He added that he supports local police as they investigate the ongoing violence in the neighborhood and say the restaurant would reopen when it is safe to do so.
The closure came one day after local bakery Piroshky Piroshky, located a few blocks away, closed over safety concerns. Owner Olga Sagan told reporters that she has been “patiently communicating” with the city for six months, but “things are only getting worse.” She said that she feels the city has “abandoned downtown” and is not treating the situation seriously. She said that her customers had been repeatedly threatened and others have exposed themselves to her employees.
The McDonald’s closing followed a shooting near the restaurant on Feb. 27, where police and fire department medics responded to find the deceased victim near the scene. In recent years, the restaurant near the restaurant has become notorious for open drug sales and using stolen merchandise and uncontrolled littering and disposal of drug needles.
The fatal shooting was the sixth that Seattle police have responded to this year. A man was shot in the face at the same intersection last week.
Seattle continues to see hundreds of businesses closing and leaving the city because of the city government’s inability or unwillingness to address the problem of violent crime substantively. Meanwhile, the city’s police department has seen so many officers leave the force that it is increasingly challenging to maintain minimal staffing requirements.