Amazon Relocates Employees From Seattle Office Amid Crime Spike, Fentanyl Crisis
Close-up of sign with logo on facade of the regional headquarters of ecommerce company Amazon in the Silicon Valley town of Sunnyvale, California, October 28, 2018.
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Amazon is relocating a number of employees at its office in Seattle amid concerns about an increase in violent crime.

About 1,800 employees are assigned to the Amazon office on the corner of 3rd Avenue and Pine Street in downtown Seattle, according to local ABC affiliate KOMO News. Many of those employees work remotely. But a recent spike in crime on the block has forced the company to relocate in-office workers to a new space elsewhere in the city.

“Given recent incidents near 3rd and Pine, we’re providing employees currently at that location with alternative office space elsewhere,” an Amazon spokesman said in a statement emailed to the outlet. “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.”

The intersection of 3rd and Pine has a long history of criminal activity. KOMO News reported in 2020:

Nearly four years ago, five people were shot after an argument occurred at that same intersection…

In 2016, a gunman opened fire after a fight on the street and wounded five people…

Last September, a shooter fled the nearby Westlake station after killing one person and injuring two others…

And just two days ago, someone shot and killed a 55-year-old man a block away near the Westlake Center…

In 2015, police arrested 95 suspected drug dealers on the same block. And in 2017, they arrested 42 drug dealing suspects.

In more recent news, people were shot and killed in a four-day period two weeks ago. The first victim was killed on February 27th, then another was shot and killed on March 1. But local CBS affiliate KIRO 7 reported that the city has a continuing problem on the block: fentanyl.

“Fentanyl, that fentanyl is crazy,” said one Seattle resident whose bus route takes him to 3rd and Pine on a daily basis. “It’s so easy to get it though, it’s everywhere. It’s so easy to get it. On the bus they smoke it. Every bus they’re smoking that fentanyl.”

“I used to hang down here all the time like a couple of years ago, but when the blues hit it just got hella sketchy,” said another resident, referring to counterfeit “M30” oxycodone pills laced with fentanyl. KIRO 7reported one instance where an individual was arrested and charged with distribution after selling to undercover police. Police reportedly found 187 “blue round M30 pills” on the suspect’s person.

The increase in fentanyl-related crimes has seen a corresponding uptick in illegal gun charges, according to federal prosecutors and recent court filings reported by KIRO 7. Seattle has responded by deploying a mobile police precinct and flooding the neighborhood with additional law enforcement. The move has improved conditions for residents, but they are wary that once police presence is drawn down, the drug dealers will return. “Once the cops leave. They’re going to come back. They’re watching, they watching right now,” a resident said. “The feds should be on their a**.”

“They’re still going to be getting high and selling around here,” said another.

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