Shooting prompts action by Kukui Plaza residents
A group of 11 Kukui Plaza residents, including a 79-year-old woman, took to the streets last night in an effort to take back their community after a fatal shooting shook their neighborhood earlier this month.
The regular citizens patrol group of seven was joined by four others who say they want to do something about crime.
The recent shooting of a pimp at the intersection of Kukui Street and Nuuanu Avenue prompted about 40 residents of Kukui Plaza to meet last night.
The group discussed their concerns about prostitution, noise and vehicular traffic on Kukui Street, which continues into the early-morning hours.
Cheryl Lewis said, "Pimps crank up their music," with trunks full of speakers.
She said her bed shakes on the 12th floor while the car is down on the street.
Near the conclusion of the meeting, Dolores Mollring of the Kukui Plaza Citizens Patrol gave a rousing speech, saying they have a resource more powerful than the lawmakers present at the meeting.
"We don't sit on our butts" and expect politicians to solve the problems, she said.
"I used to be scared just to walk down Pauahi Street," she said. Now she walks every week with the patrol group in Chinatown and has gained confidence and feels she makes a difference.
"We're not young people any more, but we care," she said.
The murder prompted Joyce Allen to help patrol the streets last night.
"My daughter attends Central Middle School, and the prostitutes are out in the morning," she said. Allen has been photographing streetwalkers near her home since the murder.
During the meeting, Kukui Plaza manager Alden Kamaunu showed a video of Kukui Street and what appeared to be prostitutes and a stream of vehicles, some stopping.
One woman questioned why Kukui Plaza was allowing prostitutes to do business in their parking garage.
The building complex manager said the lower two levels are owned by the city and no tickets are taken after a certain hour.
Rep. Bev Harbin and city Councilman Rod Tam called for tougher laws and more community involvement, but the audience criticized their "rhetoric."
"We've been working now with the police department for over 10 years," one woman said. "How do we move this activity out of our community? This is a huge residential community."
One woman said there were two groups of prostitutes: the local "strung-out iceheads" and the gangs from "Los Angeles and Las Vegas who bring their own girls."
Many wondered why police couldn't do more.
Police officer Daryl Jones said undercover officers have made arrests for prostitution and drug offenses in the area, but they are not visible to the public.
"You know the shooting stemmed from prostitution and drugs," he said. But officers cannot arrest someone for walking along the sidewalk. They must be caught in the act, he said.
He urged residents to contact the area businesses such as Longs Drug Store to install brighter lights. And he encouraged more community members to walk the street with him and the citizen's patrol.
Jones also said if prostitution was bumped up from a petty misdemeanor to a misdemeanor, it would help.