City: Efforts to tackle crime in Chinatown are working, but there’s more work to do

The city administration says efforts such as cracking down on criminal activity has improved Chinatown during the past year.
Published: Feb. 23, 2022 at 9:37 PM HST|Updated: Feb. 23, 2022 at 10:59 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The city administration says efforts such as cracking down on criminal activity has improved Chinatown during the past year.

But area merchants and residents also got an update on the River of Life Mission, which has come under pressure to move its program of giving free meals to the homeless out of the area.

Earlier this month, the city announced that it had reached an agreement with River of Life to move out, but there was no set date until Wednesday night’s online presentation on Chinatown.

“Last night, they had a board meeting and with a unanimous vote, they said March 31st will be when the feeding will stop,” city Community Services Director Anton Krucky said.

“We needed a defined date,” added Mayor Rick Blangiardi. “We knew it would be in March. Literally it’s the last day in March. We hope it will be couple of days sooner, we’ll see. But that’s going to happen.”

The city administration also points to increased police presence and the use of the Weed and Seed program in improving condition in the area.

“In the past, an offender was arrested but released pending investigation,” said Honolulu Police Maj. Calvin Sung. “Now with this Weed and Seed program with the prosecutor’s office, the narcotics offender would be charged with a high bail, and off the street at least until the next court hearing.”

HPD also said most crime there has decreased significantly since the program returned last July.

“The officers gave over 21,000 warnings. Officers gave over 1,000 citations, and also they made over 150 arrests in Chinatown,” Sung said.

Under the “Adopt A Park” program, the city is looking to reactivate Aala Park as a community gathering place with supervised events.

“Nationwide, the thing that really gets people out into parks is having supervised activities because they feel more comfortable,” city Parks and Recreation Director Laura Thielen said.

Despite the efforts, there’s still concern whenever there is a crime, including a double stabbing that occurred Tuesday night on Hotel and River Streets that sent two men to the hospital in serious condition.

“Unfortunately crime is going to occur,” said interim Police Chief Rade Vanic.

“But what I can assure you is that we’re not going to lessen our commitment to making sure that we do the best job that we can in keeping that community safe.”

Blangiardi also announced that he and his department heads would be making another walk-through of Chinatown in the new future.

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