HONOLULU (KHON2) — Rocks and even axes being thrown through windows at the Kekaulike Courtyard in Chinatown are just some of the things residents have been dealing with recently.
“We have a spike, all of a sudden we’ve got more violent crimes,” said Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock member of the Chinatown Neighborhood Board.
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Capturing crime in real-time has been a challenge for officers in Chinatown. In January, the Honolulu Police Department said 20 out of the 26 security cameras were not working.
“The original cameras that were installed before 2000 are old analog cameras,” said Wilson Chan of the City’s Department of Information Technology. “I think there’s probably less than 12 that are still active and working.”
Now, the system is getting a makeover and upgrading to 56 cameras at various intersections. The cameras will be modernized to look similar to the surveillance cameras in Waikiki.
“They’re 360-degree cameras for situational awareness and pan tilt zoom where the operator can zoom in for specific events. So it’s basically five cameras per intersection,” Chan said.
“According to the City, HPD officers at the Chinatown substation will be able to monitor the new surveillance camera video. Plus, any other police station across Oahu will also be able to tap into the system.”
The goal is to centralize the system to a city-wide network for other agencies to utilize.
“City agencies like the Department of Emergency Management if they need situation awareness. There’s also a bigger plan to have a group monitor the entire city and all city assets, whether it’s HPD cameras or City cameras,” said Chan.
However, there have been challenges in getting the project up and running.
“It’s more of a supply chain issue right now. So a lot of the gear that we put orders in are not slated to come in till next calendar year,” Chan said.
A portion of the cameras are expected to be installed during the first half of 2023.
Community members said the sooner an extra layer of security is available, the better.
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“The cameras would be the additional police force so I’d like them up very quickly. I think to address the heightened insecurity we feel now, we need those cameras up and running,” Shubert-Kwock said.