by: Mari-Ela David
HONOLULU (KHNL) - Another prostitution bust means another victory for residents in downtown Honolulu who are fighting to take back their streets.
Part of the crackdown in prostitution is in part thanks to the Downtown/Chinatown Citizens Patrol. They walk the streets every Tuesday night. Members wrapped up this week's patrol saying the latest prostitution sting is welcome news.
They don't have weapons. They only carry whistles with flashing lights, bright yellow shirts and reflector belts, but they're armed with powerful crime-fighting tools - a sharp eye for criminals and determination to take steps to combat prostitution plaguing downtown Honolulu.
"On Tuesday nights, if the prostitutes so do see us they scatter. We prevent the Johns for a while from coming around. And then there's card game playing on River Street. When we come by, they hide the cards, they put them away," says Citizens Patrol member Dolores Mollring.
The Citizens Patrol formed 12 years ago. Today, with the help of police, members say their streets are more safe.
"We'll rarely see more than maybe three in any given night now. Before it was an average of 6 to 7 that would be walking down this street so it's vastly improved," says Mollring.
While stepping up enforcements has helped, community members say the most effective crime-fighting tool lies in the hands of the justice system. Until tougher laws are in place to crack down on repeat offenders, residents say prostitution will remain a problem on their streets.