After brutal rape, Waikiki residents demand better police presence

(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - The latest violent attack on a young woman in Waikiki has many area residents demanding a stronger police presence – a presence that Honolulu police officials say they aren't certain they can provide.

Early on the morning of December 31, a 21-year-old woman was beaten, tortured, and raped in the valet parking lot of a Waikiki hotel. The victim, who asked that her name not be published, wanted her story told as a warning to others.

It's the latest in a string of high-proifile violent crimes in Waikiki in recent months, though HPD officials say violent crime in the area is actually on the decline – and that they're already patrolling Waikiki as best they can with the resources at their disposal.

"Most of the cases that have come to light recently are just blips on the radar. They're cases of notoriety, and there's generally other circumstances, dynamics that contribute to it,"  said Deputy Chief John McCarthy. "Overall, Waikiki, like the rest of Oahu, is a fairly safe place to be."

Deputy Chief McCarthy says the depatment recently added more patrol officers to walk the streets of Waikiki and have made upgrades to surveillance cameras in the area. Still, he says more cameras are needed, especially along the Kuhio corridor, Lewers Street, and Kalakaua Avenue.

Honolulu Police Commission chairman Max Sword, a former hotel executive, says he would support more cameras in the area, even though he believes HPD is doing a fine job.

"Unfortunately, we can't put a police officer on every corner or every square foot of Waikiki," he said. "But they're doing the best job that they can with the officers that they have."

McCarthy says there are still more than 200 vacancies within the Honolulu Police Department.

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