Six locations in both Seattle, Washington, and Los Angeles, California, will close their doors permanently, as well as two locations in Portland, Oregon, and one location in both Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C., according to The Wall Street Journal.
“We want you to know that creating a safe, welcoming, and kind third place is our top priority,” a message from Starbucks Senior Vice Presidents of U.S. Operations Debbie Stroud and Denise Nelson explained to employees. “Because simply put, we cannot serve as partners if we don’t first feel safe at work. The question on our minds is: How do we continue to show up for our communities while protecting our partners?”
The executives announced new trainings for de-escalation and active shootings, adding that among the policies they may pursue are “modifying operations, closing a restroom, or even closing a store permanently” if safety is a persistent issue, then transferring employees to other nearby stores.
The cities of Seattle, Los Angeles, Portland, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., have indeed witnessed surging crime over the past two years. As of last month, Los Angeles and Washington were on pace to surpass their homicide totals seen in 2021, according to crime data reviewed by Fox News.
In recent months, more than a dozen convenience stores in Philadelphia have closed permanently as a result of rising retail crime. “Right now we have a lot of problems with the city of Philadelphia. We are closing left and right,” Manzoor Chughtai, the president of the Franchise Owners Association, said, according to WPVI. “Robbers are coming in, they’re just robbing the place left and right. We have now lost about 15-20 stores in the city of Philadelphia. Nobody wants to take over the store. Nobody wants to run the business in the city of Philadelphia. Very dangerous.”
On Monday, four separate 7-Eleven stores in southern California experienced shootings, leaving at least two dead and three injured. “Our hearts are with the victims and their loved ones,” 7-Eleven said in a statement. “We are gathering information on this terrible tragedy and working with local law enforcement.”
Many leftist district attorneys have pursued policies such as eliminating cash bail or moving priorities away from prosecuting shoplifters — actions which garner criticism for letting criminals continue dangerous behavior without consequences. Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón therefore faces a recall as more than 715,000 citizens signed a petition to begin the process, according to the Los Angeles Times. The signatures still need to be verified by county officials before the recall can qualify for ballot placement.
“Perhaps worse than any one specific policy, Gascón has sent a loud and clear message to criminals that he will always have their backs, whether that means lowering sentences or declining to prosecute certain crimes altogether,” a spokesperson for the Recall DA George Gascón campaign told The Daily Wire in May. “That mentality has turned the streets of Los Angeles into a living nightmare — criminals feel emboldened, residents feel unsafe, and victims feel completely betrayed.”
Starbucks’ move to close stores also occurs as over 180 locations seek to unionize. Starbucks Workers United — a unionization effort led by Starbucks employees — says they are attempting to “form a collaborative, creative, forward-thinking, justice seeking, independent organization that will allow us to advocate for ourselves.”