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Amazon moves employees out of downtown Seattle office due to crime

Amazon’s Seattle headquarters. (GeekWire Photo)

Amazon is telling employees they can work at an alternative location due to recent crime around its downtown Seattle office at 300 Pine St.

“Given recent incidents near 3rd and Pine, we’re providing employees currently at that location with alternative office space elsewhere. 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,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

Bloomberg first reported the news.

There are currently 1,800 employees that work at the Amazon office, previously home to a Macy’s department store and located less than a mile from its main headquarters. Amazon opened the office in 2018.

Earlier this month Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz said SPD was “launching an initiative to curb the violent criminal behavior” in the area near Amazon’s office.

The crime in downtown Seattle is causing many businesses, tech companies included, to either move offices or adopt a wait-and-see approach of staying remote even as COVID-19 cases recede.

Companies are also taking steps to keep employees and customers safer as they transition back to in-person work, including closing offices early so employees can get home before dark, and hiring private security officers

Earlier this year an Amazon engineer was hit in the head with a baseball bat while walking near downtown Seattle. Days later there was a rash of shootings in downtown districts, building on what city officials say was a 40% increase in gun violence last year.

Seattle saw sharp spikes in crime in 2021, but rates haven’t reached the historic levels seen in the ‘80s and ‘90s. The spikes are still alarming, though — so much so that Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell put public safety at the top of his first State of the City address last month. 

Last month The Wall Street Journal editorial board declared that “lawlessness now hampers Seattle’s economic recovery.”

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