Amazon moves to temporarily reassign office workers in Seattle amidst rising crime

by mcardinal

Marion Bae, FISM News


Around 1,800 employees in one of Amazon’s downtown Seattle offices are being temporarily reassigned due to an increase in the area’s violent crime. Many of the employees were still working remotely due to COVID-19 policies, but those who were making the commute were increasingly in danger of becoming a homicide victim. 

The office in question is located at 300 Pine Street in Seattle, housed in a former Macy’s department store, half a mile away from the original Amazon Headquarters on 7th Avenue, known colloquially in the Amazon community as “Day 1.” 

Less than a quarter mile from the 300 Pine Street address is the notorious Pine and 3rd intersection, a well-known crime spot, where violent crime has become more frequent. Within the last three weeks there have been at least two fatal shootings in the area, among other violent incidents. 

On March 2nd the homicide victim was a 15-year-old boy, who had been shot in the abdomen and was taken to a nearby hospital in critical condition before succumbing to his injuries. 

In a statement to Business Insider regarding the decision to re-assign the employees, an Amazon spokesperson said, “Given recent incidents near 3rd and Pine, we’re providing employees currently at that location with alternative office space elsewhere.” 

They added, “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.” Other Amazon buildings in downtown Seattle are continuing to operate.

Amazon is not the only company to consider the safety of their employees and ultimately relocate from the increasingly crime-ridden city. In November a Starbucks was forced to close due to workers feeling unsafe, and in late February McDonalds closed their flagship store on 3rd Ave, citing one of the aforementioned shootings at 3rd and Pine as their reason.

Jonathan Choe, a journalist for KOMO News, took to Twitter to post videos of the outside of the McDonald’s building after they closed. His caption read, “EVEN MCDONALD’S REMAINS CLOSED: Biz owners say @McDonalds on 3rd Ave/Pine St. abruptly closed recently for ‘safety reasons.’ Has not reopened. Now people are doing drugs in the doorway. Waiting on response from Mickey-D’s. I’m sure they are ‘not lovin it.’”

The correlation between violent crime and the ongoing drug crisis in Seattle cannot be denied. On March 4th, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell announced the initial results of Operation New Day, a collaborative effort between the Seattle Police Department, the mayor’s office, and various federal and state offices to arrest those committing federal drug offenses. He reported that 16 felony drug arrests had already been made. 

KOMO News asked the Seattle mayor’s office for a statement regarding Amazon’s decision to relocate some of their employees and were told, Mayor Harrell 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. 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.”