HONOLULU (KHON2) — “For anyone working in Chinatown, you’re going to get arrested,” Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm said as he called out drug dealers in a press conference in front of Kekaulike Market on Wednesday, Sept. 8.
“We are going to prosecute you,” Alm said. “The business and residents down here deserve a break.”
According to the Honolulu Police Department, officers have made 74 arrests in Chinatown and the Kalihi-Palama neighborhoods since mid-July. A majority of them have been drug-related offenses.
“We continue to work with community outreach partners to provide social services, and we look forward to a continued prosperous cooperation between all parties,” Interim Police Chief Rade Vanic said.
Alm says this community-minded project is not a one-month effort, but “a years-long effort that will make this project stronger and stronger.”
The point of the new project is to work together with the community, according to Alm.
“It’s not going to get solved overnight, but it is going to be resolved further,” Alm said. “We are working closely with homelessness, we have different approaches to deal with it.”
According to Alm, the County wants to help houseless individuals who get arrested for criminal charges by providing a combination of mental health treatment, drug treatment and housing help.
With experience from being a judge, Alm said he witnessed individuals that were involved in criminal activity change their lives for the better.
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“Folks can be successful,” Alm said. “It doesn’t matter if they been homeless for years. If they’re given opportunities, we have some excellent treatment programs here, they can be helped as well.”