- Seattle’s landmark Mutual Fish market is shutting down after 77 years due to rising crime and homelessness.
- Home invasions targeting Asian families and increasing crime against businesses have raised concerns among the city’s residents.
- Since the controversial decision to defund the police in 2020, Seattle has witnessed a significant spike in crime rates, with over 600 officers departing the force.
In a sad reflection of the times, Seattle’s iconic Mutual Fish market is bidding farewell after 77 illustrious years, a closure driven by an unsettling increase in crime and the persistent issue of homelessness.
Mutual Fish has been a beacon in the Seattle seafood scene, its pioneering spirit “inspired generations of professional chefs and home cooks,” as Eater Seattle highlighted. Yet, its doors will forever shut this month.
Operator Harry Yoshimura’s decision, though abrupt, is rooted in deep concerns. Describing the volatile environment, Yoshimura stated, “There’s more homeless people around and things like that. People getting shot up the street up there.”
He lamented over the grim developments in the vicinity, particularly violent crimes victimizing Asian Americans in their South Seattle residences. “Beacon Hill is real bad now,” he remarked.
Backing his concern, the Seattle Police Department recently reported multiple home invasion-style robberies aimed at Asian families in the area. They believe a group of three to seven young black men is responsible for 14 incidents since June.
#EXCLUSIVE: After nearly two weeks, still no arrests of the black teens involved in a violent stun gun robbery targeting an Asian American man in Seattle's Beacon Hill neighborhood.
I spoke exclusively to 57 year old Dat Cao, a Vietnamese immigrant who is sick and tired of… pic.twitter.com/kUXnDf7vN9— Jonathan Choe Journalist (Seattle) (@choeshow) September 5, 2023
Residents’ patience with city leadership seems to have worn thin, especially with council representative Tammy Morales, with many accusing her of absence during the crisis. Fellow council member, Sarah Nelson, didn’t mince words, publicly criticizing Morales and stressing the importance of the upcoming vote.
She emphasized, “I need at least four strong, compassionate pro-public safety allies on city council because it takes five votes to get anything done. I need backup. Otherwise, nothing is going to happen, nothing is going to change.”
The pandemic’s aftermath added to Mutual Fish’s woes, with the labor shortage and forced closures severely impacting businesses.
Reflecting on the past, Yoshimura observed to Fox 13, “Pre-covid you know, all the good chefs were around, and we knew them all… It was a real happy community. You have a lot of small restaurants opening up, but a lot of the major restaurants, it’s real hard for them at the moment. Because in the evening, there’s not much traffic downtown.”
The fish market’s neighborhood, Rainier Avenue, has turned into a hotbed for crime since the 1960s, resulting in the shuttering of many businesses.
Following these closures, these empty structures have tragically followed the same fate: being occupied by vagrants, burning down, an encampment forming, and eventual eviction by landlords. A notable business succumbing to this wave was 7-11, which has been discreetly closing outlets across Seattle.
Additionally, Bartell Drugs recently closed its last 24-hour drug store in the city, marking its sixth closure in recent years.
Escalating crime and retail theft are pinpointed as the primary culprits behind these closures. This disturbing trend draws eerie parallels to San Francisco, which has also witnessed a massive business exodus.
Recent statistics add to the city’s woes. Last week, Seattle’s homicides for the current year exceeded the entirety of 2022. Notably, the first half of the year saw a 7% rise in homicides, placing Seattle among the top 10 cities experiencing such an increase.
Crime rates in Seattle have alarmingly surged since 2020, an aftermath of the council’s controversial move to defund the police. Over 600 officers have since departed, leaving the force ill-equipped to handle the city’s size, especially during large events.
We want to know what you think! Share your thoughts in the comments below.