South Seattle neighbors frustrated with increased shoplifting at local grocery stores

VIDEO: Increasing crime could force stores to close

The 911 calls coming from a South Seattle shopping center have more than doubled since this time last year.

Pat Murakami of the South Seattle Crime Prevention Council said sometimes suspects are taking entire shopping cards of stolen goods, and another resident said store staff don’t want a confrontation where someone could get hurt.

“No business can continue to operate with those types of losses,” Murakami told KIRO 7 Wednesday.

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The South Seattle Crime Prevention Council said stores are losing more than $1 million because of theft. See the full video below.

On Thursday, a Safeway spokeswoman said they will not be closing South Seattle stores.

"We are not now considering, nor have we ever considered, closing our Rainier Valley, Rainier Beach or Othello stores," spokeswoman Sara Osborne said in a statement. "We take very seriously our role as the sole or primary grocery store in these communities. Further, we take seriously our role as an employer in these communities. We currently employ hundreds of people in these three stores and many of these employees live close to the stores where they work.   
"While it is certainly true that these stores each have their own challenges regarding theft, we have developed a collaborative relationship with the South Precinct of the Seattle Police Department to strategically create solutions to these issues. This partnership has resulted in less criminal activity and theft in these three stores, and our efforts are ongoing.  We are hopeful that this improvement inspires the city to invest more in law enforcement efforts to prevent and deter property crimes. The safety of our employees and customers is our priority, but we also respect that this is a nuanced challenge because communities also do not want to feel over-policed or hyper-monitored. Our central purpose is to provide these communities with great service and quality food. We will continue to do this work and we are honored to do so."

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