CHICAGO (NewsNation) — One Seattle government leader is pushing for a restoration in police presence after Amazon announced it was temporarily relocating workers from their downtown offices due to crime concerns.
“I’ve been advocating for a refund the police plan, which would restore the 350 officers that have been cut from the Seattle Police Department,” Reagan Dunn, a King County councilman, said on Tuesday night’s edition of “The Donlon Report.”
Seattle is in King County, and according to the county prosecuting attorney’s report, there were 460 shooting victims in 2021 — a total that was 70 percent higher than the 2017-2020 average.
Dunn is council vice chairman in King County — the most populous county in Washington — and says the American e-commerce giant is not the first business in Washington’s capital to leave on such terms.
“Amazon’s following suit,” he said Tuesday evening. “Right there on their blog over the last three weeks, there (have) been three shootings, two stabbings, (a) carjacking. And I think they’re very scared about the future of the safety of the downtown Seattle core. And it’s very sad.”
Another business that was forced to close shop was Piroshky Piroshky, a Russian pastry shop with several locations in the city.
The bakery closed down Feb. 27 due to high crime after the owner, Olga Sagan, grew tired of talking to the city to no avail.
“The last straw was having a shooting just right outside of our windows at 1 p.m. on Sunday … At that point, I said, unfortunately, I can no longer put my employees on the line or my customers in a line of being hurt,” Sagan told “The Donlon Report” on Tuesday night.
Sagan says it’ll take consistent, long-lasting anti-crime policies being implemented for her to again operate a business downtown. Those policies, Dunn says, have been stripped away.
“There’s been dramatic increases in defunding the courts as well as the prosecutor but you can’t solve crime, you can’t do investigations and you can’t do detective work unless you bring those resources back,” Dunn says.
Sagan agrees, adding “police have a lot of frustration because laws have been implemented that give them a hard time policing.”
Democrats have been calling on funds for police departments across the country to be redirected in response to police killings of unarmed Black people, including George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, who were both killed in 2020.
Many advocates for the “defund the police” movement including Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.), said defunding does not necessarily mean getingt rid of police altogether. The purpose is to reallocate the money to other agencies, such as mental health providers, funded by local municipalities.
Dunn and Sagan’s sentiments, however, are both in line with the country’s attitudes, as the share of adults who say spending on policing in their area should be increased now stands at 47%, up from 31% in June 2020, according to a 2021 report.
Their beliefs also align with those of President Joe Biden, who, in his first State of the Union address, railed against the liberal wing of his own party as he denounced the “defund the police” slogan.