As reported last month, area legislators have met with Chinatown residents and businesses, homeless services providers, Honolulu Police Department (HPD) and other stakeholders on the increasing level of assaults and drug-related activities within the Downtown-Chinatown area. Retailers and businesses in the Nuuanu/Bethel Street area have called for additional police presence in Chinatown to combat assaults and drug-related incidents near Hawaii Theatre and along Bethel/Nuuanu Streets, as well as break-ins and vandalism near many small businesses.
To help reduce the presence of homeless individuals and the number of assaults/break-ins in the area, Resolution 16-24 was introduced by Councilmember Kobayashi this week. It seeks expedited approvals for Hawaii Theatre’s plans to enclose the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Park with a wrought-iron fence and beautify the park area. The resolution is scheduled to be heard before the Council’s Budget Committee on February 10, 2016, at 9:00 am, and testimonies on crime in Chinatown are being sought.
HPD reported that thirteen additional police officers have been assigned to foot patrols in the neighborhood since mid-January. According to an HPD representative, officers are assigned to monitor Chinatown at all hours of the day, but will focus on the times of day that assaults and property crimes are more prevalent (e.g., during nighttime hours). HPD also asks residents and community members to continue calling 911 and report suspicious activities so that areas of interest can be identified for additional patrols.
Area legislators are also seeking increased dialogue and communication between HPD, the Prosecuting Attorney’s office, State Judiciary, homeless services providers and other community partners so that a more comprehensive drug enforcement effort is implemented. Neighborhood businesses, Chinatown organizations and homeless services providers have reported instances in which their employees witness the same individuals repeatedly conducting drug-dealing activities in public locations, and are frustrated by the lack of information as to whether these individuals are being arrested and prosecuted.