Kakaako businesses taking security measures

Kakaako businesses taking security measures

KAKAAKO, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Restaurant 53 By the Sea sits on the fringe of Kakaako's growing homeless camp. Trespassing by homeless people has increased.  There have been thefts. So the restaurant hired overnight security.

"The only trouble that we are really concerned about is the safety of the employees and the guests, so when we're in operations they do come and they harass not just the employees but the guests that are here as well," manager Tony Castilo said.

Honolulu police statistics show that compared to January 2013, calls for assistance from cops in the district that includes Kakaako has gone up by 45 percent.

Crime has also crossed to the mauka side of the area, affecting Highway Inn and its neighbors.

"Our management company here which represents Kamehameha Schools did put out a bulletin letting all the tenants know there has been increased vandalism and break-in's with cars," owner Monica Toguchi said.

A security guard is now stationed on the ground floor of the building that houses the Department of Public Safety.  DPS wanted a guard for years but got emergency approval to procure guard services immediately because of escalating confrontations employees were having with homeless people.

Anthony Nao lives in the tent city.

"I think it's unfortunate for those that aren't involved in the criminal activities here," he said. "For some of us we're struggling, and we're just trying to survive without all the extra unnecessary activity going on."

Police estimate in eight months the number of tents in Kakaako has doubled to about 200.

"I know Ward Warehouse also has had similar situations with vandalism, assaults, car break-in's," Toguchi said.  "We advise our staff to go in pairs and not park in areas that might be unsafe for them."

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