HONOLULU (KHON2) — Operators of the Wahiawa Boxing Gym at the Wahiawa District Park are alarmed after the facility was burglarized and vandalized repeatedly over the last week.
Broken locks, emptied lockers and a mess were left behind after the boxing gym was hit by vandals.
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“Oh my goodness, it was just fixed,” said Larry Meacham, a Wahiawa resident. “Well that’s terrible, it took them years to fix it and a lot of money.”
The Department of Parks and Recreation said two juveniles were arrested over the weekend for unlawful entry and vandalism.
DPR said in a statement:
This past February, we reopened the upstairs portion of the Wahiawa Gymnasium following a significant Capital Improvement Project. Through the course of this $3.24 million improvement project, there were additional issues discovered with the downstairs boxing and fitness areas. A separate nearly half million dollar project to address the elevators, leaks, and ventilation for the lower portion of the gymnasium (boxing and fitness rooms) is scheduled to be finished by fall 2022. We are optimistic that once this building is back to its full operational capacity the positive activation will help to deter illegal activity in the area. That is ultimately one of the best methods of keeping criminal elements out of parks.
Also, our botanical garden staff are working with our maintenance crews to address some of the fencing issues described at the boundary of the district park and botanical garden and will reduce the overgrowth in that area.Department of Parks and Recreation
As for the new equipment, it’s now unusable. Damage is estimated at $20,000.
“It was pretty groundbreaking to see such amazing work done there and just to find out now that somebody already broke into it — I think it’s only been open in less than a month,” said Keoni Ahlo of the Wahiawa Community and Business Association. “So it’s sad because it’s a community service facility.”
According to the Honolulu Police Department, over the last month in Wahiawa, there have been 10 burglaries, 14 thefts and seven property damage cases. The Wahiawa Community & Business Associations said small businesses are suffering.
“They’re in and out, whether it’s break ins, smash and grabs or catalytic converter thefts that are happening. It’s kind of getting out of control,” Ahlo said.
HPD said there are over 60 patrol officers for District 2 which stretches from Mililani to Waimea. As of February, there were 14 vacancies in the district.
“They work with an average of 10 officers a day,” said Robert Cavaco, President of SHOPO. “When you start to shift and when calls start coming in, you have one or two officers that are assigned to each case.”
Meanwhile, Wahiawa businesses are taking it upon themselves to find solutions. They’re hosting a meeting on Thursday from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Wahiawa District Park in the Hale Koa room with police and security companies to band together. All Wahiawa small businesses are invited.
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“We just got to come up with solutions and I think that it’s going to take time. We’re going to need to get the right people involved, but I think together, we have a stronger voice,” said Ahlo.