Kailua crime prompts meeting with Prosecutor

KAILUA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Some Kailua residents say a band of burglars are terrorizing their neighborhoods and they are calling on police and the prosecutor's office to do more.

In the last two weeks of September there were 78 burglaries, thefts or stolen cars in Kailua alone. That's more than other areas like Downtown/Chinatown, Kapolei/Ewa Beach and Waianae/Makaha/Maili.

The neighborhood between Kailua District Park and Kailua Beach is one that neighbors say has been hit dozens of times and they want it to stop.

"In the last six days there have been 35 crimes within a two mile radius of the Kailua police station," said Rep. Cynthia Thielen.

Cynthia Thielen knows crime in Kailua has gotten bad, not just because she's the longtime state representative for the area but because she came face to face with a burglar in broad daylight.

"A woman was ripping the screen in our bedroom. She had gone into the closed fenced yard, broken into the yard, went around to the bedroom and tried to rip in that way and came around the corner and came face to face with me and I was on the inside of the window and she was on the outside and I said what are you doing in my yard?" said Rep. Thielen.

She called police and the suspects got away empty handed. She says it shows how brazen the crooks have become.

Others have similar stories and say they are living in fear and didn't want to reveal their identity.

"It's eating on our psyche and it's also dangerous because someday either the burglar will be shot or the people whose house he's in will be shot," said a Kailua woman who was recently burglarized.

Neighbors say they know who some of the thieves are but as soon as they're arrested they're back on the street. There's enough frustration they scheduled a meeting with Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro.

His office told us one problem is the state's Justice Reinvestment Initiative, which he was against. The state wants to bring home Hawaii prisoners housed in Arizona so badly it releases nonviolent criminals to make space.

"We're not going to let lack of space be an excuse. We can't let that be what drives the criminal justice system," said Rep. Thielen.

The prosecutor's office says crime is not limited to just Kailua and that it's happening across the island. They also say that almost every property crime is tied to drugs.

If you want to hear from Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro he will be at the community meeting Thursday October 3 at 7:00 at Kailua District Park.

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