Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

City, police begin Safe and Sound Waikiki initiative to reduce crime

Honolulu Police Department Chief Joe Logan speaks at a press conference for the Safe and Sound Waikiki initiative on Sept. 6, 2022
Office of Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi
/
Honolulu Police Department Chief Joe Logan speaks at a press conference for the Safe and Sound Waikiki initiative on Sept. 6, 2022.

City and County of Honolulu partners have officially begun the Safe and Sound Waikiki initiative to reduce crime.

Safe and Sound Waikiki plans on convicting serial offenders and helping those with bigger problems, like substance abuse and chronic homelessness.

"It's about coordinating these law enforcement efforts with the community efforts," said Honolulu Prosecutor Steve Alm, whose office is leading Safe and Sound Waikiki.

steve alm waikiki weed and seed 090622.jpeg
Honolulu City Council
/
Facebook
Honolulu Prosecutor Steve Alm speaks at a press conference for the Safe and Sound Waikiki initiative on Sept. 6, 2022.

The program will also work hand-in-hand with the Honolulu Police Department. Alm says a key part of this is geographic restrictions.

"What that does is it restricts a defendant who's pending trial or after sentencing from going to certain parts of town like Waikīkī," Alm said at the Tuesday press conference on Kalākaua Avenue.

But these types of restrictions would need to be granted by judges, and aren’t necessarily a guarantee.

"At sentencing, you have to consider a number of things, the nature of the crime, the history and characteristics of the defendant. But also you have to consider how would deterrence work, and how you could protect the public from future crimes of the defendant. So I'm asking our judges, we're asking our judges, to consider the last two in addition to the first one," Alm explained.

This new Waikīkī initiative is similar to the Weed and Seed program used in Chinatown, and other efforts to deter criminal activity and get those committing crimes help.

"Being homeless is not against the law. At the same time, if the homeless folks are breaking the law, HPD is going to arrest them. And in the last year, 120 homeless folks from Chinatown have been arrested. And we've started a new program called SUDA-Fast (Substance Use Disorder Assessment - Fast) to get them assessed as possible and into treatment," Alm added.

Virus Outbreak-Hawaii face mask face covering waikiki pandemic
Caleb Jones/AP
/
AP
FILE - In this Aug. 24, 2021 file photo people walk past Waikīkī restaurants and shops. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones, File)

Jennifer Nakayama of the Waikiki Business Improvement District Association serves as chair of a steering committee for the program. She says community involvement is necessary to make a crime-reduction program work.

"We can bring together those job shadowing, those second-chance career programs, the at-risk youth outreach to kids to try to divert them from what otherwise may lead them to a life of crime and avoid that to begin with," Nakayama said.

Edye Danby from Lexington, Kentucky, first visited Waikīkī in 2014. This time, she's noticed some changes.

"I haven't personally seen any crime. I'm aware because I retired from corrections. So I'm aware of the possibility of crime just by what I see on the beach, just by the number of people that I see under the trees and laying out — even on the street, the open street," Danby told HPR. "So I'm very cautious. I don't want to be that way on vacation, but I feel like I need to be."

Danby noticed Tuesday’s press conference held by Pier 4 and stopped by to listen in. She says she’s hopeful the changes are implemented by her next vacation.

"I'm thinking about next year when I come back, how there won't be all the homeless people and the flagrant people on the beach and how much more safe I will be even to bring my family with me," Danby said.

Sabrina Bodon is a general assignment reporter at Hawaiʻi Public Radio. Contact her at sbodon@hawaiipublicradio.org or 808-792-8252.
Related Stories