HONOLULU (KHON2) — Chinatown community leaders said there’s been an alarming amount of crime going on in the area from shattered windows to purse snatchings and robberies.
On Monday, police say they’re still searching for a suspect in an armed robbery at the Chinatown Cultural Plaza. According to police, the suspect walked into the store with a handgun and took money from the register.
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The Chinatown Businesses and Community Association said this is just one of many recent incidents.
“We had a spate of purse snatchings like couple times a day,” said Chu Lan Schubert-Kwock of the Chinatown Businesses and Community Association. “They were just targeting people who are unaware. They walk, and they get snatched.”
“It’s more frequent,” said Nick Lee of Cindy’s Lei Shop. “There’s more glass shattering, and you can’t always replace it so easily. I think Mark who runs Aloha Graphics said he caught the person that shattered his windows in the act.”
According to the HPD Crimemap, there have been two burglaries, three robberies and about 22 thefts within the last week in the area.
“They were so brazen,” said Schubert-Kwock. “They broke into cash registers too in front of people, and they just grabbed the money and ran.”
In a letter from HPD Interim Chief Rade Vanic to the City Council and Mayor Rick Blangiardi, he said HPD is working with the City’s IT Department to upgrade and replace broken security cameras around Chinatown.
Schubert-Kwock said they’d like to see money put into staff that can monitor them.
“We also need them to fund a full time position to monitor the cameras. You can’t have cameras if no one is watching them,” said Schubert-Kwock.
Meanwhile, HPD said the Chinatown foot patrols will continue until March 31.
Chinatown merchants hope for more solutions to restore the area soon.
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“It’s not very heartening,” Lee said. “We want Chinatown to be like an encouraging place, just both for business but also for community.”