HONOLULU (KHON2) — As the holiday season approaches, concerns about crime and visitor safety in Waikiki take focus. On Thursday, tourism leaders and law enforcement came together to discuss strategies to keep kamaaina and visitors safe.
Safety in Waikiki continues to be top of mind for many.
Check out more news from around Hawaii
“We have international visitors who are attacked and impacted when there’s crime in Waikiki,” said Jessica Lani Rich, Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii President.
The Honolulu Police Department reported that assaults and thefts remain an issue in Waikiki. However, since the start of the Safe and Sound Waikiki Program, burglaries and car break-ins are decreasing. HPD said catalytic converter thefts are also down thanks to identifying hot spots at the Honolulu Zoo parking lot and Kapiolani Park.
“Crime is down in many areas in Waikiki and part of it is increased enforcement and we’re working with the folks that are committing crime to either get them locked up for a while or if they have drug or alcohol problems, to get them help with that,” said Steve Alm, Honolulu Prosecutor.
Since Safe and Sound Waikiki’s introduction six weeks ago, HPD has made 258 arrests. Police said, repeat offenders are a problem, with 21 individuals arrested twice.
“What Safe and Sound does for us is we get high bail and it’s high bail for misdemeanor offenses and immediate charging for the felony whereas we’ve had regular C felony cases that would’ve just been put in the line,” said Maj. Randall Platt, Honolulu Police Department District 6.
HPD said Waikiki is one of the heaviest monitored districts across the island with surveillance cameras. Now, Aloha Ambassadors are helping to improve security by monitoring cameras inside the Waikiki substation.
“The City IT department was able to take advances in technology and be able to take digital camera footage instead of analog and being able to have cameras that can tilt and pan and zoom,” said Jennifer Nakayama, Waikiki Business Improvement District President and Executive Director.
Get news on the go with KHON 2GO, KHON’s morning podcast, every morning at 8
HPD said visitors and kamaaina can help by locking car doors, not leaving valuables behind and watching what types of items they carry around.