Kailua residents seeking help with stopping property crimes
KAILUA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
Some residents and business owners are fed up in Kailua. A couple hundred people came to listen to some heavy hitters in law enforcement, including a judge, prosecutor and police. They agree property crime is a problem, however they didn't exactly agree on the causes.
One Resident called the crime in Kailua an epidemic. Another said ten homes on her street have been burglarized in the past year.
Yet the audience heard some mixed messages because they were told crime rates have dropped. However when told details about the staffing levels in the Kailua district some questioned if crime is dropping or are criminals just not getting caught?
"One hundred percent staffing for the district is 20 officers, that's as I said from Waimanalo through Kahuku. For the Kailua sector on a good day I have five," said Captain Dagan Tsuchida, who was interrupted by an audience member asking it was five officers per shift.
"Per shift," Capt. Tsuchida replied.
There was also disagreement among the panelists about probation. Judge Steven Alm touted the Hope Program launched in 2004. He works with 1,900 convicts to make sure they follow the rules and stay drug free, while out on probation.
Honolulu Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro said probation doesn't work and repeat offenders need to be locked up.
"There are no consequences to property crime and that's why they are on the street. We have people who have been convicted many times but are back on probation," said Kaneshiro.
"Many people we arrest have multiple arrests. I've seen it upwards of 100," said Captain Dagan Tsuchida, Honolulu Police Department.
"I don't know where you've heard but there is no shortage on prison beds. We can send as many inmates we want to Arizona for $30,000 a year and it happens regularly," said Judge Steven Alm.
Captain Tsuchida said in the short term Honolulu Police has established a team to work on property crimes for the Kailua area and switched three patrol officers to the unit. He also said they are doing some surveillance in the area.
"Recently we started a property crimes response team which is a dedicated group of officers that go out and address just property crimes in the Kailua area. Their role is zero tolerance enforcement on any and all the criminals they encounter," said Capt. Tsuchida. "In the past three weeks they've been in operation they have given out over 100 citations and arrested over a dozen people."
Police also asked for help. They need witnesses to identify the bad guys and be the eyes and ears because HPD admitted its officers cannot be everywhere.
Some residents also wondered why it takes so long for a suspect to be arrested. Captain Tsuchida said investigations take time. It can be a couple weeks for fingerprint results to come back and six months for a DNA match to be returned.
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