HPD to increase foot patrols in Chinatown after violent attacks - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

HPD to increase foot patrols in Chinatown after violent attacks

Thirteen additional police officers will be assigned to conduct foot patrols in Chinatown, following reports from area businesses about an uptick in assaults.

Businesses had been asking police to increase patrols for months. The announcement Friday came after a Hawaii News Now report on the problem.

Clyde Ho, acting assistant chief for central patrol, said police are reallocating resources to address the problem.

"It's not going to be a 24/7-type operation because you want to actually put the officers out there at times when crime is more prevalent, in the night hours," he said.

Area businesses and others have said their employees have been assaulted in recent months as part of an apparent increase in crime.

Bill Hanrahan, of the Safe Haven shelter in Chinatown, says since October, his workers have filed eight separate police reports after being physically assaulted.  

Hanrahan says his staff is trained to deal with tense situations and only call law enforcement as a last resort.

He says knowing how to deal with a tough crowd is part of the job. But it's never been this bad.

Hanrahan says many of the attacks happened outside Pauahi Hale, the city's homeless hygiene station that opened in April. One employee was grabbed by the throat and swung at when trying to enforce the rules. 

"He called police. They were still on the block when police arrived and police didn't arrest," Hanrahan said.

For more than two months Hanrahan made phone calls and wrote emails trying to get a meeting with police about the increase in violence and what he calls a lack of support. His requests went unanswered until Friday morning.

Hawaii News Now contacted the Honolulu Police Department to ask about the incidents Hanrahan cited.

"I don't know what happened in that particular case but we will find out," Ho said.

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