KALIHI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Closing the door on bad perceptions.
The state's biggest public housing complex, known for its unsafe conditions, is trying to make a change.
A huge celebration Saturday is just another step in that direction.
Hundreds gathered at Kuhio Park Terrace for a celebration to not only bring the community together, but to show others who don't live there, that it's not a dangerous place after all.
More than 3,000 people live at the Kuhio Park Terrace. On Saturday, most were trying to drum up support for the place they call home, including their most famous former resident, Tyson Alualu, a first round NFL draft pick.
"It's definitely a misconception about KPT being a dangerous place, but that's what this celebration is good for, its an eye opener to the people that are not from this community, there's a lot of great things happening in the community and a lot of great things come out of the community," he said.
Robert Faleafine has been the project manager at KPT for nearly 15 years. He's seen it during its most down times, when safety was such a concern, a temporary curfew was put in place in April.
This after a shooting at Kalihi Valley Homes, allegedly involving KPT residents. It left a 19-year-old man in the hospital. Before that, two beatings and a stabbing were reported in March.
"We want everybody to have their eyes open for any type of thing that goes on here they feel unsecured about," Faleafine said.
Faleafine says just recently, they held community policing training. They also installed nearly 200 security cameras. Each of the 16 floors in both towers has six cameras.
"The bad guys, they know we're watching, they know we're really watching and for the most part, we know who most of the bad guys are, so it's a great thing to have the community know we're here to protect them and assist them if they need any assistance," Faleafine said.
Adding to the upgrade of living conditions, the ongoing elevator issues are also being addressed.
Just three years ago, only two of the six elevators were working. Now, just two are out of service, on its way to being modernized.
"When we tell residents this is being done and we look to have this online sometime, you pretty much can count that's going to happen," Faleafine said.
Some residents are already starting to feel the changes in both the attitude and look of the community.
"It's really nice that you have everything going on, we had incidents where people had to wait for the elevators to get fixed, but right now there's no waiting anymore," KPT resident Erickson Osonis said.
Another welcoming change at KPT was the installation of brand new fire alarm systems throughout the complex.
"For me everything is okay, people help one another," KPT resident Gogo Ui said.