Dori: Ballard barber issues ‘cry for help’ over repeated vandalism, theft

Nov 12, 2021, 7:27 AM
Damage to windows of Steele Barber in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood. (Photo courtesy of Steele Barber) Damage to a store window in Ballard. (Photo courtesy of Steele Barber) Window damaged in Ballard. (Photo courtesy of Steele Barber) Security camera footage from Steele Barber in Ballard. (Photo courtesy of Steele Barber) Damage visible at the Tractor Tavern in Ballard. (Photo courtesy of Steele Barber)

Crime has gotten so bad in downtown Seattle that King County government is now providing security guards to escort county employees between their workplace and commutes via ferry and train stations.

Dori: City of Seattle tells volunteer group to stop helping the homeless

But what about people in the private sector? What about small businesses? Who’s watching out for them?

Apparently, no one. Just ask Matthew Humphrey, the owner of Steele Barber on Seattle’s Ballard Avenue.

Vandalized or burglarized at least four times in the last few months, Humphrey told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson that it’s “gotten progressively worse” – and he doesn’t see city leaders doing anything to help.

“In the last couple of months, since the weather’s changed, we’ve seen more drug-addicted, mentally ill campers coming in, harassing my team,” Humphrey told Dori Monson Show listeners on Thursday.

Seventeen other businesses within a couple block radius of Steele Barber have also been vandalized or broken into recently.

The costs have hit Humphrey and other local business owners hard. Repeat vandalism cuts into their bottom line when insurance stops covering the damage. Repairs are delayed because so many glass and window companies are trying to keep up with replacements. And getting the attention of locally elected leaders seems to get business owners nowhere.

When the city refuses to clean up homeless encampments and enforce local laws, what are local business supposed to do?

Listen here to the full interview with Matthew Humphrey to hear what he shared on Thursday:

After hearing Humphrey’s story, Dori asked him: “What’s the end game here?”

“My big thing is trying to stand up and speak up,” Humphrey said.

He worries a lot of small business owners are afraid of the politics involved with calling out the city for its failures.

“There is no politics when you talk about security. It’s a basic expectation,” Humphrey said.

Talking to Dori, Humphrey says, is a “productive way to get my voice out there.”

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Dori Monson on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dori monsonTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 12 noon for The Dori Monson Show.

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Dori: Ballard barber issues ‘cry for help’ over repeated vandalism, theft