Work starts to toughen sex offender registration
Waianae's concern over incomplete data and where offenders live prompts a review
The Honolulu Police Department and other government agencies will work out a plan to compel sex offenders to follow a registry law detailing their addresses and another law restricting where they can live, officials say.
The action comes at the urging of the Waianae Neighborhood Board, which passed a resolution expressing concern that many of 93 convicted sex offenders on the Waianae Coast live near schools or live together. The resolution also noted that some of the registry addresses are incomplete, listing just streets.
The board requested that the police chief verify the address and status of the offenders and take corrective action.
The board sent the resolution to the police chief, attorney general, mayor, city prosecutor and city and state lawmakers, as well as two daily newspapers.
"As a result of joint efforts, additional enforcement is anticipated," read a letter dated yesterday from the Honolulu Police Department to the board, according to HPD spokeswoman Michelle Yu.
"That sounds awfully good," said Waianae Neighborhood Board member Frank Slocum. "There needs to be some corrective action taken. If that resolution is the catalyst to get this done, I'll feel happy something is being done."
Efforts, however, cannot focus on a single neighborhood since it is a statewide issue, police said.
For nearly three years, Slocum, a retired special-agent-in-charge with the U.S. Secret Service's Honolulu office, tried to get police and other agencies to pay attention to apparent violations but got the runaround. He said it seemed the agencies were not communicating.
The effort began after he received a letter from Waianae High School teacher Beth Matsuda, who wrote that sex offenders were living near schools and nobody was listening.
Slocum credits Sen. Colleen Hanabusa for getting a bill passed that called for community input before halfway houses for sex offenders could be established in neighborhoods.
There are more than 2,100 sex offenders in the state. In May the governor signed into law a bill that increased the number of convicted sex offenders on the state's online Megan's Law registry, sexoffenders.hawaii.gov.
Waianae Neighborhood Board Chairwoman Cynthia Rezentes said: "I'm heartened to hear they're going to be doing something. My question is, How long is it going to take, and are they going to address the multiple sex offenders at the single address and those that might be near schools or other public facilities like schools?"
Rezentes said she lives near Maili Elementary School, and there is a sex offender living on her street.
Four registered sex offenders in Waianae are listed with the same address, Slocum noted. If it is a halfway house, then the community should have a say, he said.