We first reported in April that the City and County launched a three month test to see if closing park restrooms reduced vandalism.
The city says that at the parks where they conducted the test, they only had reports of minor vandalism, which they say is a huge improvement. Because of this, they decided to launch the secure parks program, which will require all parks on Oahu to lock up at night.
“With this security service, we will see a tempt down on vandalism on all our parks so we can focus on the ka’ako on all our parks to make our rest rooms look better,” said Kirk Caldwell, Honolulu Mayor.
The city is hiring American Guard Services to set up patrols to lock up. They were hired for the pilot program and the city will continue to use their services.
While the city is unsure of what the total cost will be maintaining security of the parks year-round, they say that the cost to hire patrol services would be less than fixing the damage caused by vandals.
“It costs $26,000 for 25 parks over a three month period, which I think is a small price to pay when you have acts of vandalism that costs much more for a restroom facility to be repaired,” said Mayor Caldwell.
In the past three years vandalism at city parks has gotten worse, with repair costs rising from $189,000 dollars in 2016 to $224,000 dollars in 2018.
“I feel like the government’s actually stepping up now because in Makiki, it gets kind of dangerous too,” said Benny Lin, Makiki Resident. “And now they have that one recreation park or center where they lock the door at 9 so it feels better, safer.”
Besides the patrols, the Mayor is also thinking of installing cameras outside park facilities across the island. He says adding cameras outside the bathrooms at Sandy Beach Park also worked, and the city will consider installing them outside along with gates for all the park facilities.
The City will be expanding facility night closures to Leeward, Central, Windward and North Shore locations. They also said they will start on parks that need help the most.