HONOLULU (KHON2) — The City and County of Honolulu is beefing up police presence in Chinatown.
The mandate will put Honolulu Police Department boots on the ground in the area. Six officers will be paired off into groups to provide 24-hour patrols seven days a week.
The six-hour patrol shifts will be done on foot between North King and North Beretania from River St. to Bishop St.
City Managing Director Michael Formby wrote a letter to the Honolulu City Council saying he and Mayor Blangiardi are finalizing a plan with HPD to ensure compliance with COVID-19 emergency orders and laws.
Formby saying “Given the increase in illegal behavior(s) displayed in Chinatown, behavior(s) which are contrary to law and rise to the level of significant public health and safety concerns.”
Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock has been volunteering in Chinatown for 35 years.
“We passed out little security alarms to give to old ladies because they were targets,” she said. “So this happening for the last two to three years this. Having 24/7 patrol police is very seriously taken and appreciated because people don’t want to come to Chinatown.”
She says police being able to see crime happening will help with enforcement.
“The way our laws are written is the police have to witness it,” Shubert-Kwock said. “You may see the thing going on you report it. The police can’t do anything about it.”
Some residents are concerned that homeless people will be criminalized merely for being homeless, while others are excited for the potential of increased business.
“It’s not a crime to be homeless,” Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Board member Kevin McDonald said. “I think it’s important that people understand that but homeless people do commit crimes, Not just homeless people commit crimes but other people commit crimes too, and when that happens the laws that we have need to be enforced.”
Officers and supervisors will receive overtime pay for the patrols.