Some Seattle enterprise house owners are at their breaking level over crime

SEATTLE – Pioneer Square’s business owner, Hamza Albadan, is at its breaking point, not crushing words.

“There are a lot of idiots in this town,” said Hamza Albadan.

He emigrated to Seattle to pursue his American dream which is now near South Main and 2nd Ave Ext.

“I think we’ll be out of business soon,” said Albadan.

It is about to close Main Street Gyros after 17 years. Albadan says this is not about the pandemic, but rather the politics of the city of Seattle and how it deals with crime and homelessness.

“You prostitute in front of everyone, standing in line and standing in line,” said Albadan.

The restaurant owner says he saw not only prostitution but also drug stores in some tents across the street for many months.

On Tuesday, the Q13 news was in the same spot where a wheelchair-dependent woman showed us how difficult it was to get around the tents that were on sidewalks near South Main.

For business owners, however, the problem was far more than just access issues.

“We have wonderful homeless people, that’s not that, these are criminal people who mix homeless people with criminal people,” said Albadan.

Now there is finally evidence gathered by Seattle police that backs up what Albadan saw.

On Tuesday police arrested three men for conducting a criminal enterprise under the protection of the tents.

They confiscated various narcotics, including cocaine, heroin, and nearly 140 grams of meth.

Cash and weapons were also confiscated.

“You can’t do business with a couple of tents outside, you can’t,” said Daniel Carrillo.

Carrillo owns Gallery Frames. He says criminals are now taking advantage of the city’s leniency towards homeless tents, which are allowed to go and stay anywhere.

Business owners say this problem is a recurring nightmare and they want long-term solutions from city guides, including Andrew Lewis, who represents Pioneer Square.

“You need to talk to the police or the mayor about what the long-term strategy will be in this corridor, but I really would like to see us renew and expand the Just Care program because it is currently on pause,” said Andrew Lewis .

Lewis urges Just Care, a new program to engage and help the homeless.

“This system has been really effective. There are 124 people who have been largely removed from Pioneer Square and integrated into the all-round service provided by Just Care,” said Lewis.

Lewis says he understands the frustration with the demise of Pioneer Square and speaks to business owners all the time.

“There are these shelter tents, many call them corporate tents, they hide criminal businesses,” said Lewis.

“You then see that illegal activity is dealing with it. Don’t let it get to the point where you have to have a huge bust,” said Carrillo.

Hamza says it’s annoying that it took so long to remove the tents from the sidewalk despite all the criminal activity.

“The city has tied the police’s hands, there is nothing they can do about it,” said Albadan.

On Wednesday the tents were gone and people from the Pioneer Square Community came out to paint over the graffiti where the tents used to be.

But it may not be enough to appease some business owners who say they want to leave Pioneer Square.

Both Carrillo and Albadan say the tents will be back, as will the crime. They dealt with the bike path before the pandemic even started.

“If you’ve had this business for 17 years and you lose it to a couple of people who run the town and don’t know what they’re talking about, we’re going to be angry, of course,” Albadan said.

Although the robbery took place outside of his business, Albadan says crime is a growing problem across Pioneer Square.

He says it has gotten so bad that many delivery drivers are now telling him that for safety reasons they will not pick up groceries from him.

“Come here at 6pm, people are scared of running,” said Albadan.

Despite all the anger, Albadan is very sad who says that Seattle was the most beautiful city for him.

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