Increased foot patrols in Chinatown not stopping criminals

Increased foot patrols in Chinatown not stopping criminals

"We just put these doors in a month ago. Then last week looks like someone kicked it," said Cameron McElroy.

Broken glass is the least of McElroy's worries.  Over the past two months the operations manager for Real Office Center near Nuuanu and Bethel in Chinatown has had to deal with two break-ins.  The latest happened the first of February.

"I don't understand how there is a police station two blocks away and there is so much crime happening," said McElroy.

On January 8 Honolulu Police Department announced it would be adding 13 additional officers to help with foot patrols in Chinatown.  This came one day after Hawaii News Now broke news about a string of violent attacks against employees at Downbeat Diner and Lounge.

McElroy admits over the past month he's seen more officers on the street.  But he along with other merchants wonder whether it's making a difference.

"Are there arrests being made?  Are people actually getting caught for burglaries? Are things actually being recovered," said McElroy.

"When we see actual police do work that they do, it seems very stuck with jaywalking tickets and minor motor vehicle infractions targeting citizens that are coming into Chinatown to patronize our businesses," said Downbeat Diner and Lounge owner Serena Hashimoto.

We asked HPD if it could provide us with details about the citations and arrests officers have made since beefing up patrols.  Officials told us that crime in the area has remained relatively the same.

During Tuesday's tour Mayor Caldwell got to see first hand some of the challenges this community is facing when he was approached by a homeless veteran near Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Park.

"My question is what you're going to do about Vietnam vets and other vets still on the street," said the homeless vet.

Mayor Caldwell's staff put the man in touch with an outreach worker.

While some progress has been made business owners tell Hawaii News Now they want foot patrols extended through the entire night.  They currently run from 8:00 a.m. until a little after midnight.

"We just need to keep working with that and enforcing the laws that help.  Not enforcing the laws that are arbitrary," said Hashimoto.

Merchants say they're hopeful these efforts will translate to a drop in crime in the area.

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