Neighbors question safety of abandoned property in Palolo

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An abandoned church on Palolo Avenue is getting some unwanted attention according to residents who live nearby.

“It’s attracting a bad type of person and influence into this area and that’s why I was getting concerned,” said a resident who wished to remain anonymous.

Residents say the abandoned property is attracting illegal activities.

“I’ve been noticing a group of several kids who look like they are doing something some kind of transaction, getting stuff from a backpack making handoffs,” said a resident. Residents have also seen squatters.

The abandoned property and its problems have also caught the eye of the area councilmember.

“They’ve called our office and we’ve made inquiries. We spoken with the police and the Catholic Church,” said Honolulu City Councilmember Ann Kobayashi.

The property is for sale. KHON2 reached out to the realtor to get answers, but has not heard back.

KHON2 also reached out to a real estate expert to find out if abandoned properties have to be maintained.

“They have to maintain it to a certain level, but you don’t have to paint it or fix the roof,” said real estate analyst Stephany Sofos. She also said squatting is a growing problem.

“It’s a big problem,” said Sofos. “I see homeless going into abandoned houses, and if it’s empty for maybe a month, you see homeless in it. It’s what’s called an attractive nuisance and people will come in because they know no one is living there.”

Sofos says the best way for property owners dealing with these issues is to make sure they have no trespassing signs, locked gates and proper fencing. If you know of illegal activities or people living in abandoned buildings you should call police.

As for Palolo residents, they say they have called police, but they just want the property owners to know about the problem so that hopefully something can be done to stop it.

“I think they should more regularly check on the property because, like I said, the police will come when we call them, but their hands are tied because they can only do things when they see things,” said a resident.

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