UH students complain about lax security at old dorm complex

The Noelani complex at the University of Hawaii Manoa campus
The Noelani complex at the University of Hawaii Manoa campus
Robert D'Anna
Robert D'Anna
UH Security Chief Wayne Ogino
UH Security Chief Wayne Ogino

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Some University of Hawaii students said UH Manoa is not doing enough to protect them from thieves at one of the school's oldest housing complexes that's responsible for nearly one-quarter of the thefts from dorms.

The Noelani apartment complex features five three-story units with open, unsecured hallways and elevators.

Robert D'Anna, a UH sophomore from Hilo, said someone stole his $2,000 laptop over spring break from the living room of his second-floor apartment.

"When I came back, late at night, 1:30, 2 o'clock in the morning, my computer was gone.  And the only thing that I can presume is that someone walked into this room and took my computer," D'Anna said.

Unlike other, more modern UH apartment complexes that have secured entrances requiring a key card, Noelani has open, unsecured stairwells, allowing anyone to walk the halls.

D'Anna said the UH should install a few video cameras around the complex.

"Most of the thefts that I hear of around here happen inside rooms and inside where you live, where all your stuff is especially when you are in class or at work, not watching your stuff. So I think surveillance where people live is the first and foremost, most important thing," D'Anna said.

The Noelani complex, built more than 30 years ago, is not air conditioned. As a result, many students leave their doors open as well as large sliding windows that open onto the hallways, making the dorm rooms easy targets for crooks.

"Right now, it's just open to anybody.  And people know that the windows are open and that there's nobody really watching.  So they just have free reign to go in and out when they please," said Derek Kravitsy, a UH sophomore from Hilo.

Since January of 2011, Noelani apartments experienced 24 percent of the thefts and burglaries out of UH Manoa's eight housing complexes, according to figures released by the UH security office.  There were 59 theft and burglary cases reported from January 2011 to the middle of this month in all student housing on campus, and 14 of those were in the Noelani complex.

UH Security Chief Wayne Ogino said students need to remember to close their front doors and secure their windows.

"If they open up opportunity for theft, theft will occur because people are in need," Ogino said.

In the long term, Ogino said the Noelani dorms are scheduled to be demolished and new ones built with better security measures, but in the short term there may be some help on the way.

"Maybe take a look at how people are getting in and how these incidents are happening, so we can implement some prevention measures.  It could be as simple as taking a look at the locks," Ogino said.

Ogino said UH uses security cameras in large public areas on campus, but not around the Noelani dorms.

Students said video surveillance would be a better deterrent to people who want to prey on students at UH Manoa.

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