MANOA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Officials have beefed up campus security at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa with additional personnel and increased patrolling after five break-ins or burglaries were reported over the last three weeks.
"Pretty much it seems like they're almost coming daily now," said Nicholas James, a research assistant in Cellular Molecular Biology, referring to the campus security alert emails he receives. "It just seems like there's been tons – a lot just over the past couple of weeks."
Some have speculated the up tick in break-ins during the winter break are crimes of opportunity because there are fewer people on campus.
"Our population is low, however, we have increased our patrols. We've been working with the community going door-to-door, particularly with the folks that have already experienced some break-ins and just reminding them we're here on campus 24/7 and we're able to respond and asking them to contact us," explained UH Manoa Campus Security Captain Alberta Pukahi.
Campus security officials say it's unclear if the incidents are related.
The most recent burglary happened this past Sunday, January 5, around 3:30 in the afternoon at Kau'iokahaloa Iki, the faculty housing apartment, off Lowrey Avenue.
"We got an email from our building supervisor manager basically saying somebody had broken in on a ground floor near the window of the kitchen and had removed the panes and cut out the screen and gotten in and stole cash and jewelry and a bunch of other stuff," described Lisa Uperesa, an Assistant Professor in Ethnic Studies and Sociology, who lives there.
On December 30, a break-in was reported at Hale Noelani – also in the middle of the day. The culprit made off with some jewelry. Hale Tuahine, across from the Manoa Shopping Center, was also hit on December 21, after someone slipped through a window. Hundreds of dollars worth of power tools were reported stolen from the School of Architecture the day after Christmas.
"A couple of drills were taken from a shop," Capt. Pukahi explained, before adding, "No one saw it. They [employees] returned to work and found the break in."
Honolulu Police are investigating each of the incidents and tell Hawaii News Now no arrests have been made and no suspects have been identified.
One person was apprehended on December 24 after a break-in at the UH Press office on Kolowalu Street the day before, but officials don't believe he's responsible for the other burglaries.
"He admitted to being in some of the buildings for the most part he was looking for a place to stay – a warm place and something to eat," described Capt. Pukahi.
Classes resume on Monday, January 13 and officials are asking people to be aware of their surroundings – if they see something, say something and be prepared.
"My friends – we talk about that and we just try to remind each other to be careful and lock the door, the windows," said UH Manoa grad student Imelda, who lives on campus.
In the meantime, Campus Security officers have been going door- to-door with sticker fliers reminding faculty, staff and students they are the eyes and ears that help keep the area safe.
To report suspicious behavior or for additional crime prevention information, contact UH Manoa Campus Security & Emergency Management at # (808) 956-6911.