Seattle’s Last 24-Hour Pharmacy Closes Amid Crime Wave

Democratic-led cities nationwide have experienced a troubling spike in crime of all sorts in the years since efforts to “defund the police” began to gain traction.

In Seattle, Washington, where a police-free zone was established during the height of the 2020 protests, a string of businesses have been forced to close or take drastic security measures in order to protect workers and address rampant theft.

A clearly inhospitable environment for the city’s police department has led to nearly 600 officers resigning from the force since 2020.

Between 2020 and 2022, nearly 2,400 businesses have fled the city’s downtown area. Now, the only remaining 24-hour pharmacy has decided to close after 133 years in business. The Bartell Drugs chain had already closed five other locations in the area and confirmed that the final day for its last store will be Sunday.

“Like all retail businesses, we regularly review each of our locations to ensure we are meeting the needs of our customers,” explained parent company Rite Aid.

The statement affirmed that the decision was “based on a variety of factors including business strategy, lease and rent considerations, local business conditions and visibility, and store performance.”

Even before the 2020 riots, Bartell Drugs CEO Kathi Lentzsch indicated that the company had decided not to open any more stores in downtown Seattle, citing an uptick in theft and violence as the primary reasons.

Crime has gotten considerably worse since then, with the homicide rate on pace to exceed record highs not seen since the late 20th century. Seattle is one of only 10 cities with an increase in homicides during the first half of 2023.

Last year, U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA) penned an op-ed detailing the impact that Democratic efforts to defund the police has had on cities like Seattle.

“Minneapolis, which saw some of the year’s most violent riots, cut its police budget by $8 million,” he wrote. “Los Angeles slashed police funding by $150 million, and New York City shrank the NYPD’s budget by $1 billion. As a result, 14 major Democrat-run cities saw their highest homicide levels on record in 2021.”