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Downtown Seattle guitar store owners frustrated by crime, drug use outside building

Video captured by store employees appears to show drug use in plain sight outside the business.

SEATTLE — Behind a steel gate and through a locked door you’re safe to get lost in the music.

“We’ve cultivated something in here. We love inside these gates we create our own world,” said Trevor Boone a co-owner of Emerald City Guitars.

It's what happens on the outside that keeps the Boone family awake at night. They showed us video after video captured by store employees that appears to show drug use in plain sight. Needles at times in piles and a situation they say is out of control.

“I’ve got a full staff down here and for the umpteenth time over all the years we’ve been down here, especially like the last ten years we’ve got crazy violent stuff going on down here,” said founding owner Jay Boone.

Tuesday’s incident stepped everything up a notch. Trevor Boone says he asked the occupants of a green tent to move down the block and was met with, “A hand came out of the tent and showed ‘we have bullets’,” he said.

“I did not see a pistol, I mean I don’t want to see a pistol, bullets are enough,” Trevor Boone continued.

Police responded but no one was cited. That green tent is still there, moved just a few feet down the sidewalk. A situation that caps years of run dangerous run in’s that they say show no sign of stopping.

According to the Downtown Seattle Association, 500 businesses have either moved or shut down since March of 2020. Emerald City Guitars says they don’t want to follow that lead.

While to them it appears there is no help on the way the owners of Emerald City Guitars make it clear they don’t want to leave – at least not yet.

“We want to fight, we want to fight for our right to run a business in downtown Seattle and run a business without having employees come to work with their lives in danger every day,” Jay Boone said.

In a statement from Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell's Office, a spokesperson said the mayor agrees Pioneer Square and all downtown neighborhoods "must be safe and welcoming places for residents and visitors." 

A spokesperson pointed to initiatives the mayor has implemented in an attempt to reduce crime downtown, like increasing Seattle police presence and expanding programs to put small businesses and arts exhibits in vacant storefronts. 

"Issues created over years cannot be solved overnight, but we will continue to work with residents and businesses to develop a comprehensive approach to public safety and drive sustainable progress," a spokesperson said. "This includes efforts to diversify public safety responses, ensuring the most effective and appropriate approach depending on the issue. Further, the mayor presented his plan to increase SPD staffing and recruitment so we can improve response times."

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