HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu police officers fanned out at various parks across the urban core Thursday night as part of a crackdown on those living in illegal homeless encampments.
Approximately 40 people were arrested in two days for a total of nearly 200 outstanding warrants.
Police focused on Kakaako late Wednesday night into Thursday morning.
Thursday night into early Friday morning, police conducted enforcement efforts at Aala Park, and Crane Community Park — all parks known for their large homeless populations.
“I think that they need to do it because they’re having a lot of problems. Several times a week there’s fights,” said Gregory Kazanas, who lives in a tent at Old Stadium Park.
“There’s a lot of people that are making a bad for the rest of the people out there, causing trouble and that rift raft there brings everybody else down and every body else is just trying to survive," Kazanas said.
Authorities said efforts are in response to a growing number of complaints and safety concerns.
Just last week, 36-year-old Remington Troy Guyton was charged with first-degree assault of a law enforcement officer after sources say stabbed an officer in the face with a screw driver. Guyton, who has no local address, is also accused of trying to take that officer’s gun.
Erica Rice, a resident who lives near Crane Community Park, said she fears for her safety and carries pepper spray and a knife when she walks home from work at night.
“I know they have to go somewhere, but it’s gotten to the point where we can’t even get into our cars,” Rice said. “We live here, we pay rent and seriously it’s getting to the point where we do not, the residents here, don’t feel safe.”
Hawaii has one of the highest per capita rates of homelessness in the country, and a census conducted in January found more than 2,400 people living on the streets of Oahu ― up 12% from the year before.
The crackdown comes as Honolulu’s medical rxaminer released a sobering new statistic on Hawaii’s homeless population: 373 unsheltered homeless died on Oahu from 2014 to 2018.
The cause of death for a third of those who died was substance abuse, suicide or homicide.
The governor’s coordinator on homelessness said providing the homeless with housing would take care of their immediate needs and give them the opportunity to take care of their overall health.
An HPD spokesperson said officials are working with the Mayor’s Office to issue a release to the media about the crackdown some time next week.
This story may be updated.