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Group of Seattle business owners plead with city government to stop repeated thefts: 'It's a viable career option to be a thief'
David Ryder/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Group of Seattle business owners plead with city government to stop repeated thefts: 'It's a viable career option to be a thief'

A group of business owners on Ballard Avenue in Seattle is speaking out, begging for help to anyone who will listen after their businesses have been ravaged by repeated unpunished retail thefts.

Business owner Matt Humphrey told KOMO-TV that his store has been broken into four times in the last two years, and nothing has been done to stop the thefts.

"It’s just happened to me too much. It’s like post traumatic stress. Every time the phone rings in the middle of the night, this is what I worry about doing business in Seattle. I’m hoping some judge, some politician watching your news show will hear it and say: this has got to stop!" Humphrey said.

Humphrey continued, "I can’t keep taking the hits like this. I've been waiting out failed policy for three years."

Down the street, business owner MK Byrne, who owns a jewelry store, echoed Humphrey's sentiments. Byrne stated that she actually began sleeping in her store in an effort to improve police response time to the repeated burglaries. "I learned that you get a faster response time if you’re inside or there’s an active threat. At that time, I was so passionate about building this business. I knew I couldn’t take any hit, any loss to my inventory, any interruption to my business because things were so tight.

"I’m not saying that was the best thing to do. But this is my heart and soul, this is my art, and I feel strongly about defending it!"

The city of Seattle claims that property crime has gone down in recent years, but Seattle police chief Adrian Diaz conceded that those numbers were likely erroneous and were probably the result of people reporting fewer crimes due to a sense of futility.

Byrne agreed, noting, "From what I understand, it takes a long time to prosecute anyone who’s been caught breaking. Rarely, they are even caught. What’s kind of left in the gap is that it’s a viable career option to be a thief."

Humphrey and Byrne indicated that they did not intend to leave Seattle, but pleaded with the city's government for help. "Make this your number one priority. A lot is going on in the city, but small businesses are the backbone of your community. They’re the backbone of your tax base. Help us fix this now."

Seattle's current mayor, Bruce Harrell, is serving his first term, which began in 2022. He was elected on a promise to return law and order to Seattle after a series of embarrassing national incidents, including the weeks-long debacle in which malcontents were permitted to take over the state capitol for weeks without police action, tarred the term of his predecessor.

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Leon Wolf

Leon Wolf

Managing Editor, News

Leon Wolf is the managing news editor for Blaze News. Previously, he worked as managing editor for RedState, as an in-house compliance attorney for several Super PACs, as a white-collar criminal defense attorney, and in communications for several Republican campaigns. You can reach him at lwolf@blazemedia.com.
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