HONOLULU (KHON2) — An empty garage is what’s left for Wahiawa resident, Mohamed Ismail Mohamed Irshad, after thieves got away with his car at a beach in Waianae.
“I feel so sad and so depressed about the situation,” said Mohamed Irshad.
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It’s a problem impacting residents on all islands. In a report to the Maui Police Commission Wednesday, the Maui Police Department said its crime rate is up due to motor vehicle thefts. Now, Maui police are trying to catch criminals in the act using bait cars.
MPD said the vehicles will look like regular cars, but the inside design is what will help police. There will be microphones and cameras setup in the car. If a thief breaks in, the system will alert police.
“What we’ll usually do is leave the keys inside so they don’t have to tear up the ignition or anything, but what’s interesting is we have the ability to disable the car safely so we don’t have to do a pursuit,” said Charles Hank III, Maui County Deputy Police Chief.
MPD is looking at parking the vehicles in busy areas like beaches and malls.
“We’re going to put some signage out to let folks know that we have bait cars ahead and use that to hopefully communicate and deter folks that are considering committing crimes again in high probability areas,” Hank III said.
On Oahu, the Honolulu Police Department reported over 4,800 motor vehicle thefts in 2021. However, there’s been an 8 percent drop from Jan. 1 to Sept. of 2022 so far. Honolulu Police Chief Joe Logan updated the Honolulu Police Commission about effective operations.
“What they’re doing is picking up hotspots and sending out patrol officers to inundate area with lights on so both the public and criminals can see there’s officers in the area,” Logan said.
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Now, MPD is working on getting bait cars from insurance companies. KHON2 will follow up with MPD on when the program will roll out.