City getting cameras back online
So far, 20 of the 26 surveillance cameras in Chinatown are functioning again
After inquiries by the news media, the city reconnected several surveillance cameras in Chinatown and plans to get all 26 cameras working soon, said Honolulu police Maj. Randy Macadangdang.
Macadangdang, who heads the police substation at the corner of Hotel and Maunakea streets, said 12 of the 26 cameras were not working for at least two weeks since the city started replacing lamp posts.
The lines for the cameras, which are mounted atop the street lights, had to be disconnected so the work could be done.
Yesterday, Macadangdang said the city was able to get 20 cameras working, and the other six should be working soon.
Two of the cameras had malfunctioned before Sensormatic Hawaii Inc. began the lamp post project, Macadangdang said.
The cameras are a "vital tool" in controlling crime, he said.
Police were able to increase patrols in Chinatown while the cameras were down because the district has 10 additional foot patrol officers who are taking part in a police training evaluation that continues for several weeks.
Most of the nonfunctioning cameras were along Hotel Street.
Cameras were installed in Chinatown in the mid-1990s and have helped police thwart drug deals and capture criminals.
Lynn Matusow, vice chairwoman of the Downtown Neighborhood Board, said her group first learned of the cameras at a regular meeting Thursday night, and "we were all flabbergasted. ... It is very disturbing." She said the board was given little information as to the cause of the cameras not working.
The cameras are able to "pan, zoom and tilt. They could catch what's happening on a whole block," Matusow said.
Macadangdang said volunteers have assisted police in monitoring the cameras at the police substation. He said they have no volunteers at the time, but anyone interested can call him at 529-3386 to set up a preliminary background check.