EVERETT, Wash. -- The owner of ZSport auto parts store says he’s tired of the drug activity and the crime surrounding his business, so he wants the world to see what is happening in Everett.
At the corner of Smith Avenue and 36th Street, three cameras perched above ZSport automotive provide a bird’s eye view of a small group of homeless people who’ve set up camp. While the homeless camp is nothing new to people in the area, what ZSport owner Gary Watts is doing about it is.
One of the security cameras provides a livestream for a YouTube account called “Everett Tweakers.”
With hundreds of live viewers at any given time, Watts says, first and foremost, he started the livestream security feed to protect his business.
"The second objective is just to catch the general patterns and the general activities. If you want to watch the prostitutes work at night, you can go on and watch them. If you want to see someone shooting themselves up, if you want to see drugs distributed, if you want to see general crime, it’s an excellent place to do it,” says Watts.
Q13 News first introduced you to Watts last week, when he made headlines for creating a digital sign outside his second location on Broadway. It read: “Welcome to Tweakerville.”
The city of Everett said neither the mayor nor the police chief were available for comment, but a spokesperson shared an emailed statement reading in part:
"Our police department is aware of the cameras and will respond to any issues as they arise. We have concerns for the safety of all the people on our streets … these are some of the most vulnerable in our community ... We’ve focused enforcement on those committing crimes and preying on vulnerable individuals ... And increased outreach efforts to try to connect those on our streets with services.”
"As long as they’re here, you’re going to have the crime, because we feed them in the daytime, so that they can steal from us at night. And that’s exactly what happens,” says Watts.
Watts says he plans to install more high definition cameras next week. He also just bought an RV that he plans to convert into a mobile streaming unit with multiple cameras.