Surveillance cameras to be mounted around Oahu

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

WAIPAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu Police will have their eyes on more criminals thanks to a $100,000 grant from Target.  The department will be able to buy new surveillance cameras to install in troubled areas, including Waipahu, Ewa, Kalihi, Palama and Chinatown.

To help catch criminals Honolulu Police will capture images using solar charged battery operated cameras that will be mounted about 18 feet high.  When the motion detector goes off it snaps up to four high resolution photos and can play a message like this.

"Stop this is a restricted area and your photo was just taken we will use it to prosecute you. Leave the area now."

"We can get a license plate in total darkness up to 300 feet," said Steve Hillsman, President, Q-Star Technology Graffiti and Vandalism Deterrent Systems.

The police department was handed a $100,000 check from Target which officers will use to buy and install 16 cameras.  As a requirement of the grant, officers must download and review the pictures at least once every 24 hours.

"It's proven to be 100 percent effective if it's installed correctly at deterring nuisance crimes like graffiti, vandalism, illegal dumping, copper theft that sort of thing," said Hillsman.

The department already has 26 video cameras up in Chinatown that have helped lead to convictions in court.

"I would tell you right now from personal standpoint, being the person who has worked the cameras and in charge of the cameras, we do observe a lot of stuff," said Corporal Richard George Fikani, Honolulu Police Department Community Policing Team.

The new cameras will be placed in areas with drug activity, vandalism and illegal dumping.  People have mixed feelings about the photos being taken.

"I think it's great to have the cameras simply because our police officers can't be everywhere. The cameras will help keep our community safe," said Brenda Paahana, Waipahu Resident. "The camera will be 100 percent improvement."

"I kind of feel stripped of my civil liberties, not that I have anything to hide but it's just slowly but surely we're being monitored. It's just kind of intimidating." said Lisa Shackelford, Waipahu Resident.  "There are ways and ins and outs of everything so I'm sure the criminals will find ways to beat the camera."

Now that the police department has the grant money they'll actually purchase the cameras, but right now there isn't an exact date on when they'll be installed.

Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.