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Why many Seattle area QFC stores have altered late night hours

(KIRO Radio, Matt Pitman)

Residents around Seattle began noticing that many local QFC locations have been changing their store hours over the past few weeks. The stores used to be open 24/7. But signs announcing new hours have become common around the Seattle area — closed from 1-5 a.m.

Employees have frankly told some customers that the new hours are a response to thefts and drug activity in the area. Ben Robinson with the Wallhood blog reports that employees at the Wallingford QFC said they changed hours because of “too many thefts, too many interruptions, and too many drugs taken by the late night clientele.”

Stores at University Village, Uptown, Mercer Island, and Normandy Park remain 24 hours. But many other stores have gone to the limited schedule. A quick online search found that of the 15 QFC stores in Seattle, two remain 24 hours.

A QFC spokesperson provided MyNorthwest this statement regarding hours change, calling them “increased security measures”:

We are focusing on putting our people in the front and center of our business. This includes our customers, associates and vendor community. We’re honored to be able to present an abundance of fresh and local Pacific Northwest products to our customers. We consider ourselves to be champions of our local farmers and vendor partners and in order to support our people, we need to be able to run a safe and profitable business. In short, we need to be paid for the product that we put on our shelves, which in turn will allow us to continue providing the best products and promoting our local businesses. We expect that these increased security measures will allow us to continue to serve our customers at the highest level while also limiting the amount of unpaid merchandise that leaves our stores.

The Wallyhood blog also reported about a rumor of a 2017 incident when someone ran into the store, grabbed a cash register, and ran back out. Seattle police were not able to track down any police reports for such an incident at the Wallingford QFC over the past couple years. In fact, there were not any theft-related crime reports for that store either.

Sgt. Sean Whitcomb said the Seattle Police Department has officers available to help with store’s concerns with theft.

“We value and respect our business community and we are open to providing a crime prevention analysis and assessment to anyone who asks,” he said. “Every precinct has its own crime prevent coordinator. Their specialty is residential and business crime prevention.”

“In some instances there have been previous reports of grocery stores storing liquor unlocked at the front of the store, where someone could grab it and walk out the store,” he added. “Whereas it might help with sales, it really should be under lock and key.”

Multiple requests for comment from the employees’ union about this issue were not returned.

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