HONOLULU (KHON2) — The beginning of the New Year started with a couple of home robberies in broad daylight against Hawaii’s kupuna. Police were still looking for the suspects during the morning of Tuesday, Jan. 5.
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Among the tips to stay safe like investing in security cameras, officials say — like the criminals watching a neighborhood — residents should also be on the lookout for each other.
A 91-year-old woman was robbed at knifepoint in her home in Ewa Beach on Friday, Jan. 1. Police say, a suspect came in through an unlocked door and no arrests have been made. KHON2 learned the victim’s bank card was later used.
A violent home invasion in Manoa on Monday, Jan. 4, sent two homeowners to the hospital after police say they were assaulted. One man has been arrested and another suspect that was caught on camera is still on the loose.
KHON2 spoke to one of the victims who did not want to be identified. She says, she feels current laws are not enough to protect victims and wants stricter penalties especially for crimes against the elderly. American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Hawaii tells us more can be done in any situation.
“And one of the things that Hawaii has done is actually made crimes against kupuna considered a felony,” said Kealii Lopez, State Director of AARP Hawaii .
Honolulu Prosecutor Steve Alm said in a statement:
“Crimes against our kupuna are among the most serious handled by our office and we will vigorously prosecute offenders. The law provides for enhanced sentencing of those who victimize the elderly and we will seek such enhancements when appropriate. We have learned that the Honolulu Police Department made an arrest in the Manoa case and look forward to their continued investigation of both matters.”Honolulu Prosecutor Steve Alm
CrimeStoppers Honolulu tells KHON2 that many kupuna grew up in a generation where they did not have to worry and probably still leave their doors unlocked. So officials are urging people to lock their doors and windows even when they are home.
“If you live in those older type of homes that have those jalousies, which are easily removed, consider changing them up for the sliding windows, or just going to a local hardware store and install jealousy clips,” said Sgt. Chris Kim.
In the event a suspect is caught in your home with you, Sgt. Kim says to just obey their demands.
“If anything, we want you to be a good witness,” Sgt. Kim said. “Pay attention to how they look, you know, are there any distinguishing scars, marks, tattoos?”
Sometimes the best tool may be right next door, according to Lopez.
“Sometimes your neighbors know what’s happening before you do. So I think trying to come up with ways to have all of us kind of keep an eye out for each other in the way that I think we all used to,” said Lopez.
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