Amid crime concerns, college students join forces with residents to patrol Chinatown

Criminal justice students joined forces with residents to bring attention to growing crime concerns in Chinatown.
Published: Apr. 11, 2023 at 11:14 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Criminal justice students are joining forces with residents to bring attention to crime concerns in Chinatown.

Every second Tuesday, residents of Downtown Honolulu and Chinatown come together to take a stand against crime.

On Tuesday, they were joined by criminal justice students from Hawaii Pacific University, who also want to spark change.

“My class focuses a lot on the Chinatown, Downtown area, and the crime and how it’s kind of been fluctuating in the last few years,” said HPU sudent Sara Valtanen.

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“I really hope that they can see things firsthand and get a real visceral feel for what we experience all the time as the residents here,” said Kevin Lye, leader of the Downtown-Chinatown Citizen Patrol.

While the students continue to research and collect public input, the area’s neighborhood board is pushing for a limit on the number of homeless shelters and housing service facilities.

“The theory is that those facilities may help increase the number of people in the area,” said Lye, “whereas if those facilities were more equitably distributed across the island, it might provide some degree of respite and perhaps provide services closer to those who are in need.”

Honolulu City Councilmember Tyler Dos Santos-Tam said services must be sprinkled islandwide.

“It can’t just be concentrating the homeless in downtown,” he said. “And Chinatown where we’re trying to revitalize this community and having more services could be seen as a step backwards.”

Dos Santos-Tam said more improvements in Chinatown are underway by the city ,including upgrades to the cracked sidewalks and renovations to Kekaulike Mall which will begin on Monday.