Seattle cafe owner says police shortages getting worse: ‘People don’t feel safe’

More than 100 Seattle police officers were terminated Monday for failing to comply with Washington state’s coronavirus vaccine mandate. With cops already having stepped down during the “defund” movement that began in 2020, business owners are sounding the alarm about the public safety situation and the shortage of officers. 

Pluto Organic Cafe owner Maher Youssef told “Fox & Friends First” Wednesday that break-ins have become a common occurrence. 

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“I can’t sleep well,” Youssef said. “Every night I wake up and it’s like, OK, I’m going to go check my store. Two, three o’clock in the morning, four o’clock, five o’clock because I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

“People, they don’t care. They just break into your store to take even small things. If you don’t have anything, they just take whatever. Because there’s no police on the street.”

Youssef added that these acts of vandalism have had a price, including property damage.

“[The thief] was packing an energy drink and water, and he broke the glass and wood, cost me like a thousand dollars,” Youssef said, adding that tourism is down as well around his store, which is near the historic Space Needle. 

“They tell me they don’t want to come to Seattle anymore because they don’t feel safe,” Youssef said. 

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Youssef noted that an officer’s vaccination status does not concern him when it comes to calling 911. He said the response times are getting worse, explaining a recent incident where it took six hours for police to call him back after a homeless person broke a window and damaged other items.  

You know what, help is help,” Youssef said. “Doesn’t matter if vaccinated or not, I don’t care. … I need someone who has my back.”

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