Starbucks will close 16 stores in major cities, citing safety concerns

Crime spikes across the U.S. have taken a toll on service industry businesses.
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Starbucks will close 16 stores in various U.S. cities, citing safety concerns.

"After careful consideration, we are closing some stores in locations that have experienced a high volume of challenging incidents that make it unsafe to continue to operate," company spokesperson said Tuesday.

At the end of July stores in Seattle; Los Angeles; Philadelphia; Washington, D.C. and Portland, Oregon will shutter. 

The news of closures comes after Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced plans for "the reinvention of the next chapter of the company," of which safety is a key tenet.

In a letter to employees on Monday, Debbie Stroud and Denise Nelson, senior vice presidents of U.S. operations, wrote that workers are "seeing firsthand he challenges facing our communities – personal safety, racism, lack of access to healthcare, a growing mental health crisis, rising drug use, and more." 

"With stores in thousands of communities across the country, we know these challenges can, at times, play out within our stores too," they also said.

In cases in which the company is unable to create a safe environment in a store, Starbucks will close it permanently and move employees to neighboring stores. The company is also offering active-shooter training, mental health benefits and access to abortion care. 

According to CNN, 133 stores have voted to unionize in recent months with a growing number underway.