Residents near a Moiliili park say homeless turned the area into - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Residents near a Moiliili park say homeless turned the area into a haven for drug use

Old Stadium Park. (Image: Hawaii News Now) Old Stadium Park. (Image: Hawaii News Now)
MOILIILI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

A Moilili neighborhood is in desperate need of help after residents say the city allowed their community park to turn into a drug den.

Lately problems have gotten so bad residents say they feel like prisoners in their own home.

The playground at Old Stadium Park is practically new but it's rare to find children anywhere near it. Surrounded by dozens of squatters, the things that happen there have driven most park goers out.

"People don't feel safe," said Mamu.

The Moiliili resident has lived in the neighborhood 25 years. He asked us to conceal his identity saying people who live near the park are constant targets of crime.

"Their cars are broken into, their laundry stolen," he said. "They are reluctant to talk because of this victimization."

Neighbors say drugs fuel those problems.

"There's illegal bike chop shops going on here," said Tim Streitz, Chair of the McCully Moiliili Neighborhood Board.

"These people fighting, they having commotion," said Mamu. "Some of the people, I myself encountered, tried to sell me oxycontin and hydrocodone."

Homeless outreach workers confirm widespread opiate and meth use among the estimated 40 people living in the park. We're told the majority are local and have been living on the street for years.

During the month of July the city says it conducted eight sweeps at Old Stadium Park. Neighbors say it's obvious that tactic doesn't work.

"The city does not provide adequate supervision of the park," said Mamu.

"Right now it's very lenient. On the sign it says the park is closed from 10 o'clock but people just camp overnight. They never leave," said Moiliili resident Wayne Iwasaki.

The head of the city's Department of Facilities Maintenance admits illegal campers often find ways to skirt the law. That's why the administration is backing two new bills that would help close some of the current loopholes.

"Bill 51 actually addresses issues with respect to obstructions on public sidewalks. Bill 52 addresses the need to provide for alternatives or options to deal with people who live on the street," said Ross Sasamura.

The city council recently delayed votes on both because of questions over the constitutionality of the bills.

In the meantime Sasamura asks for the public's patience.

"We will be as persistent as people leaving items out to make sure this issue does not get any worse than it already is," said Sasamura. Our enforcement actions are complaint based so we depend on the public to let us know where there are issues."

The number to call to report violations is 768-4381.

According to a city spokesperson since January 1, 2018.

Officers have arrested seven people for being in the park after hours. They also made 77 arrests for contempt warrants. 

Approximately 300 citations were issued to individuals in the park, including 153 tickets for being in the park after hours, 31 for prohibited tents, 26 for public drinking, 24 for shopping carts, and 23 for obstructing the sidewalk.

There were two HELP Honolulu operations conducted, resulting in 18 people being transported to shelters, including five each to Next Step, Hale Mauliola and Waianae Civic Center.

There were 30 SPO operations conducted during this period.  97 bicycles recovered and eight cubic yards of scrap metal, 93 shopping carts, 29 bins of stored property and 33,400 pounds of trash removed.

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