City prosecutor suggests new prison to reduce crime

City prosecutor suggests new prison to reduce crime
Published: Oct. 4, 2013 at 1:58 AM HST|Updated: Oct. 4, 2013 at 3:59 AM HST
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Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro (standing with microphone)
Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro (standing with microphone)

KAILUA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu's prosecutor is proposing that the state build a new prison in an effort to reduce crime rates -- a proposal that drew applause from Kailua residents concerned about an increase in criminal activity.

More than a hundred people jammed the Kailua Neighborhood Board meeting to hear from prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro. Some of them were crime victims themselves.

Rich Tilghman told Kaneshiro that he had been burglarized by a repeat offender.

"Arrested 47 times for the same crime. Forty-seven times," said Tilghman, to audible gasps from the crowd. "And since then the same individual travels around Kailua -- he's a free man to this day - and taunts my family," he told Kaneshiro.

"I'm not here to debate statistics or to try to assign blame," said another resident, Mike Shire. "I do know that there were 82 crimes within a one mile radius of my home in September. Eighty-two crimes. This is excessive by any measure."

According to the Honolulu Police Department, there were 11 auto or motorcycle thefts, 29 burglaries, 53 thefts and 55 car break-ins in Kailua during September. Some residents have claimed that a small group of criminals is responsible for those crimes, a claim that police say has some credibility, at least when it comes to thefts from vehicles.

"A lot of the regular thieves are watching the parking lot, and they'll see what you're putting in there, and they'll make the rounds," said police Lt. Jon Vines. "They'll know already."

Kaneshiro also has heard the claims about repeat offenders. "Give me the names of the people, and we'll make sure we prosecute them," he said. "And if they're repeat offenders, we file the appropriate motions,we file for mandatory minimums."

Kaneshiro told the crowd that he blames a state program called the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, which he said is releasing non-violent criminals from prison early to bring back inmates who currently housed in Arizona. He contends those non-violent criminals are bringing up the crime rates.

"I have one solution to that problem that I'm going to recommend to the legislature, and I'd like your support. And that is to build a new prison here," said Kaneshiro, to applause.

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