New era in crime fight
begins in Chinatown
Community leaders attend theBy Stan Contstantino
groundbreaking for a police substation
on Hotel Street
To Joseph Young, having a police substation in Chinatown makes a lot of sense.
Crime "gravitates" to the downtown area, said Young, a retired dentist and member of the Friends of Chinatown who once went to Chinese school there. "With the substation in view, it will make people think twice when doing something illegal or undesirable."
Young, other Chinatown leaders, Mayor Jeremy Harris and city officials broke ground yesterday at Hotel and Maunakea streets for the Chinatown Police Station, two blocks from the substation on Nuuanu Avenue.
"We're turning what used to be the drug center of downtown into the police center of downtown," according to Harris.
He decided about four years ago that a police station was needed "right at the center of where illegal activity was happening," he said.
"There's no better location than right here on the corner of Hotel and Maunakea for this police station," Harris said.
The new substation will house District I patrol officers, a bike detail, a detective unit and civilian volunteers who will monitor Chinatown anti-crime security cameras. Fourteen cameras will be installed in Chinatown, mostly along Hotel Street.
Not only will the presence of the substation deter crime in the community, but community members' involvement also will have an effect.
"One of the most important features of the station is that it's going to have the citizens/community room," said police Capt. Paul Epstein, commander of the Chinatown patrol. "The community is very involved in the daily operation and maintenance of the station."
"We're very happy about it," said Burton White, chairman of the Downtown Neighborhood Board.
"It's hard to see crime in Chinatown. The combination of the substation and cameras is going to give us a better view on Chinatown."
Architects AM Partners will design the substation so it is compatible with the "historic character of Chinatown," officials said.