Most dangerous job on Capitol Hill? Working at the Broadway Market QFC

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This pepper spray incident at QFC was caught on camera (Image: Tim Durkan with permission to CHS)

A war zone. That’s how Mathew Chandler describes working at the Broadway Market QFC. Nearly every day police are called to the Capitol Hill grocery store for reports of an assault or harassment. According to Chandler, most of the disturbances are caused by people who are intoxicated, mentally ill, or both and QFC staff are often the first to respond. And without off-duty cops around to help, those involved say it’s a dangerous situation for employees — and shoppers.

“There are a lot of the same locals that refuse to respect the store and refuse to stop coming in,” said Chandler, who works as a clerk and assistant manager. “They know we’re virtually powerless to do anything about it.”

Also for sale in front of QFC -- heroin, $8 (Image: Tim Durkan with permission to CHS)

Also for sale in front of QFC — heroin, $8 (Image: Tim Durkan with permission to CHS)

On August 12th, Chandler was about to clock out for the night when a man entered the store and began swearing at customers. When Chandler approached, the man threatened to beat him up. Eventually Chandler escorted the man out of the store.

Once outside, the man threatened to kill Chandler with a champagne bottle he was holding. According to police reports, Chandler warned the man he would mace him if he came any closer. When the man raised the bottle over his head, Chandler sprayed him.

“In the heat of the moment I just wanted to get the situation under control,” Chandler told CHS.

The man did back down and was arrested for harassment. However, due to a company policy against carrying mace while on the clock, Chandler says he was suspended for a week and had three days of pay withheld.

A QFC representative told CHS she could not comment on the incident, Chandler’s suspension, or the company’s policy regarding employees carrying pepper spray.

Chandler has been an employee with QFC for nearly nine years, mostly working in stores on the Eastside and in North Seattle. He said inadequate security in the store due to replacing off-duty police officers with private guards led him to carry mace that night. The QFC representative also declined to comment on the use of private security guards over off-duty officers. QFC is a subsidiary of Kroger.

The daily incidents are a constant stress on QFC workers, Chandler said

“For the most part we just try to console each other and be there for each other,” he said. “It’s emotionally and physically and mentally taxing.”

Stressful and occasionally violent situations aren’t uncommon for Chandler in his other job as a bouncer. He said he’s worked security for Neumos and for the Capitol Hill Block Party.

“Being a bouncer should not be less stressful than working at a goddamn grocery store,” he said.

And without better security, Chandler wants QFC to change its policy against employees carrying mace. “Something really bad could happen and at that point it could be too late,” he said. “I don’t want to see anyone get hurt or anyone get killed.”

UPDATE: To see if the situation is getting worse, we pulled East Precinct data for the block from 2014 through this August. So far, the monthly totals for total dispatches are on the same pace as 2014. We’ve also provided a breakdown of the various types of incidents SPD ultimately is called to respond to on the block.Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 10.38.02 AM Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 10.37.50 AM

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132 thoughts on “Most dangerous job on Capitol Hill? Working at the Broadway Market QFC

  1. I believe it. That stretch of Broadway is a showcase of the worst of humanity in the city. I used to date a girl who worked there and I feared for her safety every day.

      • So tired of the excuses made up for drug addicts and miscreants. Until we control the bleeding hearts, and get some control and order this will only get worse, and some innocent hard working person at that store will die. And folks like David will still be looking to blame the system.

      • Yeah, let’s just shoot them all – the destitute, the mentally incapacitated, the addicted – and let God sort them out later. After all, that’s what he DOES, right?

      • Who said anything about shooting? Perhaps with holding people accountable to basic civil laws and practices that you or I would get punished for in a second instead of constant….excuses….

      • It’s possible to be destitute, mentally incapacitated and addicted without being an a-hole. When they are an a-hole, we need to get them off the street so the productive people can go about their business. After all, we’re the ones who pay the taxes that pay for the programs they use.

      • Yes, it’s absolutely everyone else’s fault but the drugged up violent homeless asshole that decided to make this stretch of Broadway their ‘home.’

        No matter what, never hold the person committing the assault responsible.

      • Having worked across the street from the Union Gospel Mission in Pioneer Square, I can confidently say that a healthy proportion of Seattle’s homeless are contemptible people who care only about inebriation. Not all homeless are good folks unfortunate enough to have fallen upon hard times and/or have metal illnesses.

      • As far as I can tell, about 90% are drug addicts, mentally ill, and felons who have been dumped on the street. One count identified 130 sex offenders living on the streets of pioneer square. Seattle homeless advocates perpetuate the myth that they are mostly families, lgbt youth and those that got pushed out by high rents. There is no data to back up their claims. Seattle needs to roll up the welcome mat. The situation is out of control and getting worse, and there is no political will to deal with it and take back public spaces

      • Well-said, DG! It’s time for EVERYONE to stop feeling sorry for the dysfunctional a-holes who roam our streets, and to start holding them legally accountable for their asocial and often criminal behaviors. And along with this “tough love,” we need to fund a much more robust system to help the mentally ill and addicted. It’s not either/or.

        Ordinary citizens are fed up, and hopefully this will result in some changes to the way-too-tolerant city policies.

        P.S. One thing that would immediately help is for people to stop giving cash to panhandlers. The more money they make, the more problems we will have.

      • Christ, people – have a little empathy. Yes, a lot of homeless people are assholes. Maybe you’d be pretty fucking bitter too, if you were treated like garbage every day and told that you didn’t deserve any human rights just because you weren’t “likeable”. Not everyone can be all Cinderella about it when their life objectively sucks, nobody even wants to look at them, and there’s no hope of improvement. Yes, there is a lot of behavior that’s dangerous and it’s a serious and legitimate safety issue, but if we gave these jerks even ONE better option for meeting their needs (and yes, their addiction is a need, by definition) they would probably take it and get out of our hair. The cost to just provide these people with a room and a couple meals a day would only be fractionally more expensive than all of our existing efforts (which generally try to police their attitudes and drug-use behavior) and would do much, much more to fix the problem. But everyone is SO completely outraged by even the idea of just meeting the most basic needs of asshole freeloaders that we can’t even admit that it’s just rational (and humane) thing to do. If you have ANY respect at all for basic human rights, then it shouldn’t matter how shitty the human in question is – letting them suffer and starve in the gutter is wrong. Acting like anyone should have to “deserve” basic necessities is wrong. If you can’t bring yourself to extend the barest shred of human decency and benefit of the doubt to the world’s most unlikeable people, if you think yourself the arbiter of what basic necessities other humans do and don’t “deserve”, then you are just the sort of asshole who’s one psychotic break away from joining them. Wake the fuck up already – we’re all just animals here on one lonely little planet that could wink out in one bad day. If we can’t get over our pettiness and spite enough take care of the fellow humans that live outside our front doors, let alone across national and physical barriers, we will probably just all die and all of this improbable humanity will be over and you will have just been pointlessly dickish to one of the precious few other beings in the universe that was anything like you.

      • Erica, basic necessities are already available for street people…shelters have space on most nights of the year, and food programs are available 3 times day, 7 days a week. But many choose not to take advantage of these, because they can’t drink/drug as they are accustomed to do.

      • Shelters aren’t a really stable place for anyone on the streets. As far as saying addicts “choose” to use drugs or alcohol instead of using shelters because they’re “accustomed” to it, that’s addiction. There are other models for dealing with these problems:

        http://usich.gov/usich_resources/solutions/explore/1811_eastlake

        http://www.psmag.com/health-and-behavior/case-allowing-homeless-drink-alcohol-recovery-supportive-housing-96061

  2. If Capitol Hill is so gentrified and no one can afford to live there except for high paid tech workers, where are these crazies coming from?

    I don’t blame the employee for packing mace. Kroeger needs to step up and take care of their people. Rent a cops may work on Mercer Island, but not in places where a known problem exists.

      • That corner and store is terrorized by the the sketchy drug addicted travelers and dangerously mentally ill people that the city pushes out of downtown and dumps in our neighborhood. We need to push back. Get the traveling heroin addicts on a bus back to California and the mentally ill into treatment. The safety problem on Capitol Hill is rooted in the tolerance of this crap in the neighborhood. People are in serious denial.

      • How? They hold these community crime meetings from time to time, but nothing ever happens, because no one in power in the city wants to address the fact that there are many mentally ill, drug addicted people here who have come from other places to lower the quality of life for everyone else here. And let’s not even talk about people brought by do-gooders from war-torn, brutal societies and plopped down in the middle of communities, far from where the do-gooders live.

        My theory is that those in power and their friends MUST benefit from these people being here, either by drawing nice salaries from jobs in the poverty industry or by being able to feel virtuous about their “tolerance” for these misfits from the comfortable distance of their houses in Laurelhurst.

        What can those of us who actually live here do about this?

      • The sad part is that increasing social services can help, but the demand is so large, word spreads and it attracts more mentally ill/homeless/street folks. These issues won’t be solved unless every community takes ownership. And frankly, why should other communities when left coast cities are willing to deal with it?

  3. The Harvard Market QFC is pretty bad, too. Maybe even worse. Also, those cheap security guards are worthless. They look like kids barely out of high school and most of the time they’re just staring at their cell phones or socializing. C’mon, QFC, shell out the extra money to pay for well-trained security or off-duty cops and keep your staff and customers safe!

    • True story. I go the the Harvard and Pike one pretty frequently late at night and it’s a shitshow. I’ve seen arrests, unintelligible cracked out screaming matches, and other displays like that more times than I can count.

      I’ve also heard a few female neighbors say they refuse to shop there at all after 8pm or whenever it is that they lock the front doors and make customers go through the back door that has all the street urchins standing around it bugging people. It’s a bad business move because a lot of people are busy all day and can’t really grocery shop or cook dinner until late in evening. I like food and have a pretty high tolerance for crackhead behavior so I go there at night anyway but I’d say QFC is losing a lot of revenue from all the people that live right nearby but feel too unsafe to buy their food there.

  4. Can’t blame him for the mace. I guess Kroger wants to see one of their employees shanked before they let them appropriately defend themselves.

    But the city needs to do more to stop tolerating this crap. Campsites littered with garbage all long I-5, aggressive panhandlers up and down Broadway…the gentrification isn’t making the situation on the street much better. Worst of both worlds.

    • It is ridiculous that this employee is held responsible for defending himself and his place of employment. I hope Kroger/QFC offers him the three days pay they withheld, and welcomes him back with no further discipline.

      • I agree. It’s disgraceful that Kroger sanctioned Mr. Chandler with a suspension and loss of pay. This almost makes me want to stop shopping there….at the least I’m going to express my opinion to the store manager.

    • I have some sympathy, but the fact is he confronted and maced the guy OUTSIDE the store. At that point he should have gone back inside and let the cops handle it.

  5. I will happily donate to this kid to help make up for the lost salary. I avoid the QFC’s and Safeway as much as possible since they are such miserable places to shop. It’s despicable obnoxious, profane lowlife kids are allowed to panhandle obsessively in front of the Broadway store. I have offered to escort them to places on Broadway that are hiring and they respond with profanity and laughter. Our city allows uncivil behavior on the streets and eventually it leads to major crime. We will never get a Metropolitan Market because of all this chaos. Bring on the gentrification. IMO there’s not enough. The punks and lowlifes have been torturing us on Broadway and beyond for 30 years.

    • Is it possible that gentrification can actually make these problems worse? Just because housing gets more expensive doesn’t mean these people leave; if anything I think more would collect in the area because they know residents have money. I think the root of the problem is a bit more complex…

      • Yeah, there’s no reason to expect gentrification to solve the issue of homeless & panhandlers on the streets of Capitol Hill–if you’re not paying rent, higher apartment prices don’t matter at all. The streets are the only place in Seattle with rent control.

      • Higher property values = more property taxes = more services for those who need it.

        Bring on higher property values!

      • How DARE you suggest this problem isn’t black-and-white, and might actually contain some elements of complexity and nuance! Don’t you know: homeless people, addicts, and the mentally-ill are EVIL INCARNATE and must be PUNISHED for their moral failings? That’s what Jesus would do!

    • The store *has* hired security. They have a Securitas guard posted at the front door. It’s just not enough to make a difference.

      • Yeah, their security guy does a good job INSIDE the store… but the trouble starts as soon as you step outside the door, whether walking up/down that stretch of Broadway or at the bus stop.

  6. I live two blocks from this QFC and wholeheartedly agree. (And try going to movies at the park on Friday nights at Cal Anderson Park if you really want to see a shit-show of schizophrenic crazies).

    One very small thing people can do is stop giving money to these aggressive panhandlers on Capitol Hill, or anywhere for that matter. That’s the reason they stick around – people actually give them money, which makes me cringe every time I see it happen. This money does nothing but support their crack, heroin, cigarette or booze habits. If they WANT food or shelter, there are plenty of places for people to go.

    • I saw some idiot paying a homeless camper on Broadway yesterday. In my mind I confronted him for helping to pay someone to ruin my home neighborhood. In my mind, I got thorough to this idiot to stop paying people to be homeless, and that he’s making the situation worse.

      In reality I just silently seethed, because I did not want to be the out-loud confrontational person.

    • Or to go even further, what if we all voted against any and all Seattle levies until the city started fixing basic issues of safety for those of us who pay for everything?

      The city seems to pay for things most of us don’t really want, like extra programs to move undesirables into our neighborhoods from the rest of the country, and then runs out of money and comes to us for things we actually want, such as libraries and emergency services. It’s total BS.

      • So, we let the city’s infrastructure crumble, allow essential services to go fallow, basically drive the whole schmear to hell in a handbasket for all of us, out of spite? Yeah, that’ll fix things real good.

        We live in this thing called “society”, which by definition means we all contribute to what extent we can for our mutual benefit. I hate to break the news to you, but there will always be poor and homeless (at least so long as our present form of society continues), there will always be mentally-ill, there will always be those whose bodies don’t respond well to the introduction of certain chemical compounds, just as there always has been, and they will NEVER GO AWAY. And no matter HOW you deal with them, it’s going to cost money. So, which makes more sense? Invest in trying to help them, trying to give them some very basic tools to perhaps provide a means whereby they don’t NEED to rob or steal or beg, or instead continue to pay to lock them away from sight and when they eventually get out and go back to doing exactly what got them in trouble in the first place just keep picking them up locking them away, over and over and over again? What exactly does that actually solve the problem – for them OR us? And which option sounds like a better way to spend money we’re going to have to spend one way or another anyway?

        Maybe, just maybe, if we stopped looking at poverty, homelessness, mental-illness, and substance abuse as moral failings, and started viewing them as symptoms of a larger institutional malaise that could be cured by smart, compassionate treatment of the root causes, we’d discover that these people aren’t EVIL, they’re desperate; they’re not failures, they’re sick and in need of care. And we’d probably end up SAVING more than we SPEND currently by perpetuating an endless repeating cycle of criminalization-and-incarceration that really does nothing but feed our sense of moral superiority, and hubris, and most certainly doesn’t make the problem go away.

      • I agree with you on a lot of your points, but I just don’t see that it is workable for Seattle taxpayers to provide more and more services for people who are not making great contributions to society when communities across the country are not stepping up to do their part. I get the philosophy behind what you are saying, but the result here in Seattle, on the streets that I have to walk up and down on to work, shop, etc., is that I don’t feel safe. And I feel as if the more money we spend on services, the more miserable people we attract, and it just can’t go on like this.

  7. That store is filthy and disgusting. QFC is disgusting, and the full-priced food is expired 40% of the time.

    Seattle should beg the Texas gay-owned grocery chain called HEB to come into the state. They have beautiful, modern stores.

    Grocery stores in Seattle are way out of date.

    • Probably helps explain why all the violent criminals are down around QFC … Safeway had the good sense to run them off of 15th.

  8. I was in that store last Thursday buying a bottle of beer. The clerk working at the check stand I went to seemed to be in the middle of a serious heroin nod-eyes half-shut, voice slurred, hardly about to count out my change. I’ve never seen that before in a grocery store.

    • Or maybe they were just really, really tired from working an extra shift or from dealing with the shit-show parade all day long?

      • I worked on Capitol Hill during the Great Heroin Influx of the 90’s, when there were dozens of junkies hanging out on Broadway in front of the Jack in the
        Box. I know what a heroin nod looks like. The woman was smacked out.

      • Those of us that actually live here among these junkies knows very clearly what tweakers and junkies look like most of the time.

  9. I live very close to this QFC and I feel for the employees — who are great. It infuriates me that Matthew Chandler has been “disciplined” and his pay withheld by Kroger for having taken the initiative and acted to defend both customers as well as this grocery store. A previous poster mentioned donating to recoup lost wages for this particular employee and I agree 100%. I intend to contact Kroger and lodge a complaint for their refusal to back-up M. Chandler and to penalize him monetarily. I wonder how Kroger would have dealt with the situation had a shopper been injured by this out-of-control bottle-wielding guy? Just another insurance claim, I guess. Disgusting.

  10. I took the photos you see in the story and have many, many more that illustrate the conditions out front and inside of the store. Having lived in the neighborhood and shopped at Broadway Market for over 20 years The vast majority of the problems caused inside the store are because there is no deterrent agains shoplifting – NONE – and the word is out. Employees aren’t even allowed to call SPD for shoplifting incidents unless lives are being endangered! There is currently a dollar amount that QFC and Kroger have determined is allowable loss per incident – and everyone on the street (including organized crime) knows they can come in and shoplift under that amount without any consequences. Individual and gangs are targeting the store in organized fashion on an hourly basis leading to incredibly dangerous situations for customers and employees. QFC-Quality Food Centers Inc and Kroger Careers use to employ off duty, uniformed Seattle Police officers as their security but stopped as a cost saving issue. Bring them back, start arresting the thieves and the situation becomes safer for all of us.

    • Wow, that really sucks . I shop at this QFC regularly and the employees there are all wonderful. Kroger needs to do more to protect them, because protecting the employee also protects the customer.

    • I wonder if a copy of the “lives in danger” policy can be published here? Or something from Kroger/QFC stating to employees that they can only call when lives are in danger? So if they see drug dealing, yelling, disruptions, gang activity, harrassment, or abuse they can’t call the police? I think prisoners in a state prison are safer than those employees are at QFC.

      • Employees who aren’t in management are only allowed to call if it’s life threatening.

        If it’s not life threatening, employees are instructed to call management and have management call the police.

        They aren’t NOT allowed to call the cops. They just have to have a manager do it.

  11. Sad that QFC/Kroger doesn’t support their employees better in these dangerous situations. Here is a QFC link to leave a customer comment.

    https://www.qfc.com/customercomments

    Addresses below to help out, didn’t see store IDs but should only take a minute to express any safety issues or support for people like Mathew Chandler and other employees who shouldn’t have to deal with this nonsense at work. If it’s your primary store, maybe put in your discount card ID as they can look up how much it may cost them if people feel safer shopping elsewhere.

    Quality Food Centers
    417 Broadway E Box 2
    Seattle, WA 98102

    1401 Broadway
    Seattle, WA 98122

    416 15th Ave E
    Seattle, WA 98112

  12. I have lived in capitol hill for 25 years now. And that area in front of QFC is no different now than before. The faces are different, but the energy is the same.

    You can blame other stuff like gentrification, or who is currently on the city council, or people from California (?!). But your just looking at the latest things people to be mad about.

    Drugs, mental disorders and how that creates homelessness is the real issue here. And until that is addressed. There will always be people with these problems on the streets.
    And NO, arresting them or moving them along doesn’t solve it either. It only makes things worse for another part of the neighborhood. The problem will still exist.

    I don’t claim to know the answer. I wish I did.
    But I do know you can’t come up with a good answer until you clearly identify the problem.

    • The employee “protected” himself AFTER he needlessly assumed the role of a smock-clad security guard, which is against Grandpa Kroger’s policy.

      If I were his manager I would have offered him either a free ham or turkey for Thanksgiving and called in the media for a photo op. Afterward I would fire his ass.

  13. However, I do feel like QFC/Kroger should pay for better security AND allow the employees to defend themselves with out being penalized. That is a B.S. move by QFC/Kroger.

  14. Who knew this many Republicans read this blog? Oh, some of you aren’t Republicans? Well, the “throw them out!” types share the same view as noted progressive/libreal Rudy Giuliani. From the New York Times:

    “Do you know when people lived on the streets and didn’t use bathrooms inside?” [Giuliani] said. “It’s called the Dark Ages.”

    Needless to say, Mr. Giuliani did not pause and follow up that remark with, “And how disgraceful that so many centuries later we are still not able to house all of our neediest.” He instead went on to remind us how in the 1990s, his “brain” and Police Commissioner William J. Bratton’s “people” got rid of the homeless, the panhandlers, the nuisances. “You chase ’em and you chase ’em and you chase ’em and you chase ’em, and they either get the treatment that they need or you chase ’em out of the city.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/30/nyregion/rudolph-giulianis-outrage-on-homelessness-and-richard-geres.html?_r=0

    Shockingly, his approach didn’t “solve” homelessness in NYC, and it probably won’t work here.

    • I hate to admit it but Giuliani and Bloomberg’s approach to crime worked. I used to live in New York and I never felt as unsafe there as I do walking up Pike at 1am.

      • Guiliani dealt with the problem. It takes support programs and a stick to get the drug addicts out of the gutter. Seattle offers a carrot but no stick. As a result we import the problem from other cities. Giuliani and bloomberg were elected in a very liberal city because the liberals wouldn’t deal with the huge social and crime problems. People (even the liberals) are tired of Seattle being taken over by traveling junkies every summer that camp in the parks and panhandle for weeks on end. We need to deal with it. The city attorney Pete Holmes should be shown the door along with the dregs that are making Capitol Hill such a dangerous place.

      • Stop and frisk would never happen here because of how progressive we think we are. I agree it’s controversial but it is effective as hell. Maybe we should stop stripping our cops of all their power. Cops are important regardless of certain deparments who seemingly fuck up constantly. Fix the departments and hire better cops but don’t strip them of the tools they need to succeed.

    • I’m a lifelong non Republican voter who none the less wants my home neighborhood not to be a fucking cesspit of crime and junkie violence.

      Does that make me a Republican to you?

      It’s so easy in internet debate to just label people so you can write them off. I’ve held off labeling you a social justice warrior white-knight dumbass. So far.

  15. Funnily enough, I find the gainfully employed much more annoying than the homeless folks. The influx, and near-constant presence, of double strollers, thoughtless families letting their precious child (our national treasure) scream down the sidewalk on their Razors, and hoards of hapless diners taking up the walkway have impacted me way more than the mentally ill/homeless.

  16. Here is the real issue. Seattle is so liberal that it has disabled itself from really acting in any meaningful way. To take a stance on such a touchy subject like homelessness and drug addiction means setting a sensitive group of voters against you based on the actions you take. I don’t know there will ever if enough people will be attacked, killed, or leave to cause real change in Seattle. Unfortunately law changes in the 70’s put many mentally ill people on the street due to lack of funding. So now we’re stuck with it and our government (we) aren’t taking responsibility for our own. You can judge a society based on how it treats the least among us. We’re doing really crappy. We need to take control of the situation, get these people help and treat everyone with dignity and respect while not enabling their behavior. At times this means getting them help against their will (read restraints and heavy medication).

    • In Europe, with the migrant crisis, people are reminding each other of the maxim that you can have welfare or open borders, but not both. I feel as if the same applies here.

      A significant portion of Seattle seems to gain some ego gratification and guilt assuagement by throwing money at programs for all sorts of low-performance people. These are by and large programs that don’t work and have never worked, unless you want to count providing the middle-class white people who administer them with decent salaries as “working.”

      But here’s the deal. Seattle taxpayers themselves cannot and SHOULD NOT pay to attract every dysfunctional miscreant who can get here from places where their own families and communities have chosen not to help them or pay for services to help them. All this has done and will continue to do is attract more peeing, screaming, stabbing weirdos here and make life worse for normal people.

      Either we decide as a nation to spend more money to help people who can’t or won’t live according to societal rules… or Seattle needs to freaking STOP trying to fix everyone on their own. Why does the city care so much about people who make the city worse and not at all for the regular people who pay for everything?

      • Many communities do fix their homeless issues. Believe me when winter hits in Seattle and all the rain comes we won’t be as attractive as SanFran and such. The bigger issue with Seattle and our approach is we enable this type of behavior and look down on people that don’t want to enable this behavior. Look at the tent city movement and the police lack of involvement in homeless management. The minute someone takes action against a homeless person the rights movement will be right out advocating for them. I know they cart the homeless out of neighborhoods. I used to live in Madison Park and the police would pick the up from the streets down there and move them elsewhere. I’ve seen that with my own eyes.

        What I also see with my own eyes is drug deals on Capital Hill. I also see groups of them in the Cal Anderson Park (there is a whole group of about 30 of them camping on the Denny side of Cal Anderson as of yesterday). Nothing is being done about this. As stated in previous blog responses on other posts. Sometimes the police don’t have rights to the areas they are encamped (like on I-5 on lower Capital Hill).

        And I’m not making the homeless the primary target. But they do bring in an unwanted criminal element (gangs selling drugs to the homeless) my neighborhood.

      • Just an FYI: I have recently heard from an official at the Washington State Dept of Transportation (WSDOT), and he tells me that his agency has now given the SPD authority to go into WSDOT property (mainly along I-5) and trespass campers from those areas. “No Trespassing” signs have been put up in many places, and I believe one needs to be in place in the location if SPD is allowed to act.

        So, PLEASE call the non-emergency number (625-5011) to report campers….it is one thing we can all do to make Seattle less hospitable to all those miscreants who are coming here from other places.

      • Call 911 or it won’t get reported in Seastat, and as a result the city won’t prioritize resources to address the issues in the neighborhood. If everyone who posts here calls 911 when they see dangerous and threatening activity, the city will be forced to address it. Anything short of that and the downward spiral will continue

      • Agreed completely. Maybe homelessness and drug issues should be dealt with on a national level so certain cities don’t attract their unfair share. Seattle spent the third most in the country on homeless programs yet our city is turning into an absolute dump. IT’S NOT WORKING PEOPLE.

      • How in the world is someone camping alongside a road “dangerous and threatening”? Where do you propose the police send people? It’s a waste of money to evict and move campers. Pointless policing.

  17. FYI, maybe if the police took and equal stance and didn’t cart the homeless out of Madison Park than we would get more attention from the wealthy in the area to put real solutions to work. In Boston, their homeless problem isn’t bad during the summer. Part of that is because the church community there feeds, houses and cares for their homeless.

    • The city seems to have an unwritten policy of containment of sketchy people around Capitol Hill and Cal Anderson. Can you imagine this settling in Laurelhurst or Madison Park? It would be shut down in minutes. It pisses me off that Capitol Hill has become the dumping ground for the homeless drug addicts and mentally ill for the entire city. Several police at the east precinct have confirmed that this is the policy…push them out of the downtown business district up to Capitol Hill. The police also have few tools to deal with the growing lawlessness because the city attorney’s office has no teeth and the council has no spine

      • Call 911 every time you see illegal activity on the hill. The city will only respond if the call statistics go up. Otherwise we are stuck with the ridiculously high sketchiness/crime status quo on Capitol Hill.

      • Great comment! I have complained for 30 years Capitol Hill is a dumping ground for the homeless, mentally ill and drug addicted. No one responds.

  18. When’s the last time you saw police anywhere in Seattle? If your answer is “at a protest” then its no surprise why scum are everywhere in Seattle/Capitol Hill.

    Well maintained cities like DC, and Manhattan have cops on foot nearly everywhere, especially in heavy traffic areas. Seattle has none of this, allowing junkies to thrive.

    Why do fifty cops show up to a protest but zero are out at near this QFC/the Rite Aid/Broadway and Pine/the community college late at night?!

  19. The statistics you reference in this article have no relationship to reality. Every single day i hear of somebody running to a cop about a fight, rape, robbery, being menaced with a knife/firearm and the police do not respond. when the police are belligerently ignoring complaints and fearful citizens, the statistics will not show the TRUE spreading crime wave (often violent) that has ballooned to frightening proportions in the downtown/capitol hill area…

  20. They keep on comparing to 2014 and saying things are not worse. 2014 was a total shitshow too!! This level is not acceptible. As somebody who has lived here for decades, it is clear that the level is an order of magnitude worse than 2005 or 1995. It started getting bad when Pete Holmes and McGinn were elected. It has continued under Murry. We need to add a hell of a lot more than 50 cops.

  21. I was there that night. The employee was gleefully boasting (and swearing) how he had just maced someone. I can’t blame him though. I worked and lived within a block for years.

      • I wasn’t there so I won’t pretend to know the details…but if the guy was out of the store, the employee’s work was done. If he had opportunity to go back into the store away from the guy, he should do it. A sidewalk confrontation shouldn’t have been necessary. It’s hard to know without having been there.
        However, I agree, he should be free to carry mace to defend himself inside the store.

      • This police, politicians and city attorney don’t do anything about the chronic crime and junkies/crazies in the neighborhood, so unfortunately we are at a point where the public is stepping in to take back streets and businesses.

      • Uh yeah, again, the guy threatened him ONLY AFTER MAT FOLLOWED HIM OUT OF THE STORE.

        This wouldn’t have happened if he had followed QFC policy AND NOT FOLLOWED THE GUY OUT OF THE STORE.

      • If you look at the picture, the guy being maced is holding and allegedly threatening to hit the employee over the head with a stolen bottle of champagne. If the police aren’t going to do a damn thing addressing a chronic problem, than people, for better or worse, will fight back.

  22. Somehow there is a large protest for every cause that has created this mess. Now the shit show has arrived and no protest against it. I take it because the working stiffs can’t afford not to work for a march to city hall. Unfortunate for those having to put up with it. There is no turning back, the cops are neutered and most on CH don’t fight back, except for QFC employee who will think twice before doing it again. Soooooo screwed.
    Word is that SPD cops are retiring in droves or transferring out.

    • We’re in a awkward situation here. Everyone criticizes the police for doing their job so now they have taken a more passive role and lawlessness is running rampant. Every action they take is litmus tested for racial profiling, police brutality, or just generally being bad cops. And the, now, real criminals are people who try to protect themselves from the criminal element in our society.

      This is seriously out of hand and we’re powerless to do anything about it. The police are powerless. All the activists would LOVE to protest for some homeless soul that was mistreated by the police. But what about that innocent worker that is just trying to build a life, keep a job, and feel safe in their neighborhood??

      It sucks! We work all day and sometimes long hours to support ourselves. So then I would expect that I could go home and have some semblance of safety. But no, I pay for a small place I really like on Capital Hill and live a lifestyle that fits better with who I am. Yes I could move to the suburbs with all the other families that live lifestyles that I don’t connect with. I wouldn’t feel in sync with my neighbors there. I do with my neighbors on Capital Hill. I just don’t feel in sync with the homeless and criminal element on the streets I walk on. Again, I see everything on Capital Hill that 15 years ago I was seeing on 3rd and Pike/Pine in downtown. Now those people are up here. They congregate in groups and it makes it very intimidating to walk on the streets. And no one cares… The activists are only interested in enabling that behavior and the police are so cautious that they can’t do their job. This really really sucks!

  23. We have mass homelessness in the U.S. because of our insanely high poverty rate. Drugs, mental health issues and other personal struggles only cause you to become homeless when your are already poor. Charlie Sheen is not homeless. Our government has been divesting from public housing and other safety nets since the 1980’s. That is why homelessness is increasing. It has nothing to do with the “moral character” of people. Some people who are homeless are a holes some of them are very nice. Some people with homes are a holes and again some are nice. If some a holes get homes because they have money, we should give all a holes homes and nice people too.

      • Seattle has more homeless junkies than any other U.S. city other than LA and New York. We now even have more than San Francisco. Word is out that you can camp in Seattle parks, shoot up heroin, panhandle for liquor, steal from QFC, and a van will stop by and bring you meals every day. The homeless advocates will welcome you to the neighborhood and the police will look the other way.

  24. The poverty rate is “insanely high?” Have you ever been to a country where poverty is high? It’s not the US, believe me. Even the hobos are rich in comparison here.

    • I have been to the poorest countries in the W. hemisphere. They are full of slums and people sleeping outside. It’s terrible. We have enough wealth in the U.S. to effectively criminalize homelessness and enforce laws that make it really hard to be homeless. Something Haiti could never afford to do. We are wasting money by policing homelessness. It is not a solution. 37 million people in the U.S. live in poverty. Why should anyone be ok with that? Im not ok with poverty anywhere.

      • I am not ok with it either. There need to be more programs for the mentally ill and drug addicted, but there also needs to be some enforcement to stop the craziness, violence and crime on the streets of the neighborhood. It is not an either or situation. We need both.

  25. Kroger has never cared about employee safety. There was an incident with a handgun found in employee restroom tht has never been addressed! KROGER has continued to coddle and protect disgraced .manager convicted registered sex offender Drew Harold Minnick who plead guilty to 2 counts of attempted voyeurism after he went to the Shoreline Goodwill armed with a mirror to watch the women in the dressing room. When his crimes came to light Drew Minnick was allowed to retire with respect and employees were THREATENED with the full force of discipline if they said anything other than that he had retired. QFC brass Dave Parker welcomed his buddy Drew and allowed him to volunteer at the at booth at the pride fest

    • Okay Caitlin.

      Dude just saying, there’s no law saying that you can’t work for a company if you are a registered sex offender. Like, actually. You’re angry about something that like, legitimately isn’t a thing. And QFC never told employees that they’d be disciplined if they said anything about what happened.

      • Hey, C, I don’t hide behind fake names. I didn’t write that comment. My views on the subject are pretty well-known. You may not have been told not to discuss it with anyone; other people have had different experiences. If you would like to discuss it face to face, sounds like you know where to find me!

  26. It’s funny that a high-crime Seattle workplace doesn’t allow pepper spray. The lefties here never stop talking about “rape culture”, but start pearl clutching when working folks defend themselves against these cretins while blogging on from their high security condos and expensive neighborhoods.

    Chandler is a hero and should’ve been given a bonus by Kroger instead of being docked pay. Total shame. The union should get involved.

    • No “lefties” here are pearl-clutching or saying the employee shouldn’t be allowed to defend himself. I haven’t seen anybody here defending Kroger’s policy against carrying pepper spray. I’m sorry if that doesn’t comport with the narrative you want to tell, but try to stick to at least a semblance of facts.

    • It’s not a high crime area. Go to Rainier Beach. Go to the CD. Those are high crime areas. Jesus Christ. All of these fucking suburbian transplants who have no idea what living in a dangerous place is like really should get a dose of reality.

  27. This store used to have a cop on a night. Why it doesn’t anymore is simply a matter of mathematics. All this company cares about is saving a buck. Paying a cop got too expensive closing the store for at night for a few hours when nobody is in won’t happen because they would lose a few bucks. Not only. Not only is the risk of physical harm by customers a high risk. Physical harm of freight falling on top of employees is a risk too. We are talking about 100s of pounds of freight that is constantly falling apart and threatening to lhospitalize employees. Why? Because this company is so damn cheap they only use 1 layer of plastic to save a buck half the time. For all the talk of wal mart being the worst company around. Kroger ranks right up there and would even even top them if their was no Union.

  28. This is what happens when you replace a security company that goes hands on when needed with a security company that is there to observe and do nothing.

  29. I just to live a few blocks down from that QFC. And I had a run in one evening after a really bad day. The guy checking out in front of me thought I was giving him dirty looks. He wanted to take it outside. Luckily I was able to talk my way out of the situation, but it was definitely a creepy experience. Later that week, I stopped by after work to pick up a few items and the cashier remembered me. She said he comes in all the time and starts crap with people. And I have noticed in the past 2 years or so since I moved, things seem to have gotten worse. It’s sad.. The Capitol Hill that I knew and loved is becoming a place I don’t want to be…. :-(

  30. Blame SPD?

    Has everyone been in a coma for the past 8 years? Politicians have taken over, they tell SPD in one shape or another what they can and can’t do. Failure to comply results in public shame and/or lives turned upside down for a long time. Mr. Goodman, on his post regarding his assault, hit a home run in pointing out who is responsible for the epic failure in policing the streets. Vote wisely Seattle, everyone that visits, works tours and lives in the city is depending on you.