Honolulu City Council aims to tackle increasing vandalism, graffiti cases in Chinatown

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — Chinatown businesses and offices are taking matters into their own hands after an increase in vandalism cases.

One of the latest targets is the Chinatown Improvement District office.

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The office was hit over the weekend of Saturday, May 1.

“It’s sad, but you know, you see it more and more and these sorts of things happen,” said Lee Stack, president of the Chinatown Improvement District.

There were six vandalism cases in the area since Tuesday, April 27, according to the Honolulu Police Department’s crime map.

It is a constant concern for this community.

“When you walk around Chinatown, six blocks one way and five blocks the other way, you notice that about 35 percent of our windows are boarded up with plywood, because windows have been repeatedly broken,” said Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock of the Chinatown Business and Community Association.

There has also been an explosion of graffiti.

“We just have every building from top to bottom covered with graffiti. It’s not a good environment when you see that,” Shubert-Kwock said.

A bill at the City Council aims to tackle these issues. It would prevent businesses from selling supplies that could be used for vandalism to anyone under the age of 21. Those items include things like glass cutters, spray paint and wide-tipped markers.

“The main thing that the bill does is add more requirements, spread posting of signage, and requiring the businesses to secure these kinds of implements in locations that you cannot access unless you show some form of identification,” said Honolulu councilmember Carol Fukunaga.

Those opposing the measure feel like it is an undue burden on business.

“A legitimate concern is the fact that this may be more of a additional costs for many businesses, when we don’t know whether or not that type of increased regulation is actually going to reduce graffiti,” Fukunaga said.

Another solution Fukunaga is looking into is could be increasing a citizens patrol in the area.

“We’re also in the process of mobilizing community volunteers and looking for ways that they can work closely with the police department to take back and reclaim areas that are perceived to be neglected,” said Fukunaga.

The bill is currently deferred as the City Council waits to hear more public input.

To learn more about the bill, click here.

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