The Hawaii Public Housing Authority (HPHA) is making changes to improve safety and security for residents at Mayor Wright Homes, a public housing complex in Palama.
At 5 pm Thursday a new security company, Matt Levi Security (MLS), began to patrol the grounds. MLS employs current and former police officers, adult correctional officers, Department of Defense officers, and state Deputy Sheriffs. They all have formal law enforcement training.
"We wanted to get the best fit possible by having a company that has some heavy law enforcement background," said HPA Executive Director Hakim Ouansafi.
MLS has performed similar duties for HPHA at Kuhio Park Towers and the state's Halawa Housing project.
"I think they have a lot of successes. It helps us in a way that we are now working with people that know the business, know how to bring security and peace into a community. That is something we did not have before," Ouansafi said.
HPHA will also be installing security cameras, putting up higher fences around the complex to make it more difficult for outsiders to enter undetected, issuing ID cards for residents, and instituting a curfew for visitors.
"The message from us is very clear. If you are a law abiding citizen that would like to live here as our resident and live in peace and follow the laws of the land, we'll make this environment very suitable for that. At the same time, if there is an element that is here whether it be drug dealing, anything that is illegal or inappropriate, we want them to know that we take it very seriously. We will find who you are. We will evict you if you are a tenant. We will trespass you and take all the necessary law measures that are necessary to secure this area and others for the sake of our children and the sake of our tenants, " Ouansafi said.
The state deemed the changes necessary after recent incidents of violence including two murders at Mayor Wright Homes within the past seven months.