Olga Sagan Seattle bakery owner of Piroshky Piroshky closes citing rising crime at front door step as she blames city officials for failing to take action.
Piroshky Piroshky bakery owner Olga Sagan, 38, closed her bakery outlet, after saying she constantly found the entrance blocked with drug users who refused to move – while also claiming the Seattle Police Department did nothing to help.
The last straw came when a man was shot dead just round the corner from the city center bakery over the weekend.
‘How many shootings do we need to have to realize this is an active emergency in downtown Seattle?’ Sagan told The Seattle Times.
‘The streets of downtown have been abandoned by government,’ she added, ‘and handed over to criminal activity.’
‘All politicians do is just talk’
Sagan said that she was trying to find jobs for her store’s employees at other local businesses and that she would reopen her business when it was safe.
Piroshky Piroshky bakery has offered hand-crafted traditional Russian pastries in the area since 1992 according to its owner.
The shop’s closures comes after Sagan announced on social media that violence is a ‘major emergency and instead of approaching this as such – all politicians do is just talk’. In another post, she said that she had run out of patience and was prioritizing the safety of her employees.
Seattle’s Democratic Mayor Bruce Harrell said in a statement that he is working with local law enforcement agencies to address problems stemming from local violence, acknowledging that he needs to take safety-first measures to make residents feel secure in the city.
‘The mayor is continuing to advocate for hiring additional SPD officers so that there are adequate staff resources to respond to public safety emergencies, bolster police presence in locations where crime is prevalent, and help reset norms downtown and citywide,’ Harrell’s office said.
‘Further, he is driving efforts specifically to prevent gun violence, including through community-based programs, regional coordination, and other innovative solutions,’ it added.
‘Officers and Seattle Fire Department medics both attempted lifesaving measures but the man was declared deceased at the scene,’ SPD detective Valerie Carson said.
ADDING INSULT TO INJURY: For those who don’t believe how bad it is or are dismissing the plight of biz owners like Olga Sagan at Piroshky Piroshky, please come down and try running a legit biz in conditions like these. Downtown Seattle is toast if this continues. @komonews pic.twitter.com/OkJ7wXNSb2
— Jonathan Choe Journalist KOMO News (@choeshow) February 28, 2022
America social decay
Sagan in February hosted newly elected and Republican City Attorney Ann Davidson at her bakery, with Davidson pledging to charge and prosecute petty crimes, including misdemeanors, more quickly and in a responsive way.
However, Sagan has lost faith that things will turn around, the Seattle Times reported.
‘It feels safer, but still, it’s always drug use and people shouting at you whichever way you walk,’ Sagan said.
‘This is just too dangerous,’ Sagan added.
In its 2021 year-end report, Seattle Police said that violent crime in the city had increased by 20 percent compared to 2020.
There were 31 fatal shootings and 143 non-fatal shootings in the city last year, the report said. The total number of shootings in Seattle last year represents a 43% increase over 2020 totals, and a 78% increase over 2019 figures.
So sad be by @PiroshkyBakery – we work every single day trying to make downtown friendly- and try to grow, but this is what happens. This is reminder why we need small businesses and active downtown @komonews @KIRO7Seattle @fox13seattle @CityofSeattle pic.twitter.com/6DaVYfZc5r
— olga sagan (@olgasagan1) February 24, 2022
Rising violent crime
According to SPD, shootings and shots fired calls increased 40 percent (+175) from 2020 to 2021, violent crime increased 20 percent and homeless-related shootings increased 122 percent.
Some reasons for homelessness Seattle have been attributed to the cost of living in the city having significantly risen in the past decade due to gentrification, lack of publicly owned affordable housing, and the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the Department of Community and Human Services, 40, 800 people in King County experienced homelessness at some point in 2020. That number was 45,300 people for 2019.
The Seattle Fire Department is also changing its response strategy. In 2021, the department responded to 400 ‘scenes of violence’ calls involving gunfire, assault, or injuries among the homeless communities.
Starting this week, Fire Chief Harold Scoggins said firefighters are wearing ballistic vests and ballistic helmets as well as observing from at least four blocks away when they respond to a violent scene.
‘That’s a change,’ he said. ‘Oftentimes, we’ve ended up in places that are unsafe for our firefighters, where people have been assaulted, stabbings or shootings, so we are being very intentional on how we connect with the Seattle police department before we enter these scenes.’