Amazon recently made the shocking announcement that it would be relocating its Seattle office staff due to the out-of-control crime rates in the city.

Over the past several years, the “Emerald City” has witnessed a serious uptick in open drug use and violence, but, seemingly, the inciting incident that resulted in Amazon pulling its employees was the recent shooting of a 15-year-old boy at the intersection where the company is located.

Amazon is only the latest business in a long line to distance itself from Seattle. According to a report from February of last year, at least 160 businesses had left the city since the previous March. Just this year, another business owner, Debe Franz, announced that she too would be adding her local olive oil company to the list.

“It’s not the Seattle I knew,” explained Franz. “It’s not the Seattle I love. It’s not the Seattle I grew up with.” She added that, “I would say to the city leadership: get your act together.”

Franz, like so many other frustrated residents, attributed her decision to leave to out of hand crime and expressed dissatisfaction at the city for not doing more to fix the problem. Another business owner, Hamza Albadan, who feels he may soon go out of business, said, “a bunch of idiots [are] running this gorgeous city.”

According to Albadan, his restaurant has suffered severely due to prostituion publicly ensuing, “in front of everyone, with people waiting in line,” and drug deals occurring in homeless tents surrounding the business.

In an interview with the Seattle Times, Mark DeWeirdt, a 60 year-old resident, told of how he had seen, “a half-naked man passed out in an ATM vestibule, a heroin needle still hanging from his arm.”

Leslie Buker, another local, reported having, “stayed with a young woman who was high and topless as a group of men pressed ever closer, until police arrived 50 minutes later.”

While the problems of drugs and homelessness, in particular, have plagued the city, Seattle was also a major epicenter of the “defund the police” movement, which culminated in CHOP (Capitol Hill Organized Protest), the deadly police-free community experiment.

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Further contributing to the anti-police rhetoric was a Democrat candidate for Seattle city attorney who flaunted her desire to abolish the police, whom she had once called “serial killers” (thankfully, she lost the election).

Simply put: Seattle is a mess. Perhaps the best description for the city comes from “The Fight for the Soul of Seattle,” a documentary exposing its many ills; “Seattle no longer feels the need to stop anyone from doing anything for any reason, at any time.”

The only reason so many people in Seattle are so recalcitrant as to openly shoot up or defecate in front businesses, families and children, is due largely to the fact that they know they can get away with it. After years of living under a government that goes soft on crime and would rather “safely monitor” drug use than eliminate it, residents feel little to no responsibility or accountability to behave in a way that is favorable to the common good of their communities.

And Seattle is not the only city in which this is happening. Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago, all of which are quite liberal, have all experienced similarly drastic increases in homelesness, crime and drugs–all because of a refusal to crack down on the moral desecration of their cities.

Admittedly, the problem of homelessness–which is closely linked with crime and addiction–is a complicated one with no simple solution. A solution does exist; it just isn’t an easy one.

The real solution doesn’t involve merely ensuring that those who want to get high can do so “safely,” but actually working to end addictions. Cities like Seattle must recognize that until they are willing to do this, the degradation of their communities will only continue on its current downhill trajectory.

We must also remember, however, that curing these problems isn’t solely the government’s responsibility. When governments fail to act, individuals, charities and churches can, and should, step up to play their part in rehabilitation and restoration. All throughout America, cities we love are falling prey to the disasters of failed soft on crime policies. It’s time we do something about it.

Jakob Fay is a former intern and current SIA Coordinator for the Convention of States Project, a project of Citizens for Self-Governance.

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