Maui police ramp up foot patrols in Paia amid merchants’ complaints
PAIA (HawaiiNewsNow) - Police are ramping up enforcement efforts on Maui’s North Shore after repeated complaints from merchants about illegal activity in the area.
Some who frequent Paia town say they don’t feel safe anymore.
“Many crazy things,” said Hookipa Surf Co. employee Sky Wallace.
“Lots of homelessness. Lots of transient people going through. I’ve seen armed conflicts. I’ve seen lots of body fluids. I’ve seen just a lot of wild behavior.”
Merchants like Wallace said they appreciate having a larger police presence in Paia, but add more needs to be done.
“I’d like to see more police presence just because I feel like it’s a deterrent from basically, like people defecating in the street and … public intoxication,” Wallace said.
It all stems from a recent uptick in illegal activity in the area.
Surveillance video from back in November shows a smash-and-grab at Hi-Tech Surf Sports store on Baldwin Avenue. Since then, police have increased their presence to deter the criminals.
“They walk up and down either Baldwin or along Hana Highway and address the concerns that the people have, or talk to them, see if there’s any other issues we can address,” said Maui Police Department Sgt. Christina Bonacorsi.
“It gets more of a community-orientated policing. So that has been working.”
MPD hopes more foot patrols will combat crime.
“People drive by, you don’t really see everything. When you’re walking, you really get that different feel. You can pick up on a lot of other things. It really does make a really big difference,” Bonacorsi said.
It’s a pilot program that started in January. For now, it is just temporary.
Merchants would like it to be a permanent presence. That will hopefully happen once they get more manpower.
Copyright 2022 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.