Crime wave alarms
Windward residents

A former top cop says part
of the problem is a shortage of
officers assigned to the district

By Rosemarie Bernardo

Members of the Kailua Neighborhood Board have created a committee to tackle rising property crimes in Windward Oahu.

"People right now don't feel like it's as safe as it can be," said Kathy Bryant-Hunter, chairwoman of the Kailua Neighborhood Board.

In a Monday meeting at Kailua District Park, Harold Falk Jr., committee member and former Honolulu deputy police chief, shared crime statistics with the group, which wants to recommend ways to reduce property crime.

Property crime in the Windward District (from Kahuku to Makapuu) increased 38 percent for the first 10 months of this year from last year, Falk said.

A total of 4,968 property crime cases -- which include burglary, larceny-theft and motor vehicle thefts -- were reported this year, compared with 3,599 cases last year.

Motor vehicle thefts in Windward Oahu climbed 172 percent to 656 as of October from 241 in the same period last year, said Falk, who based his information on police data.

Burglary in the district jumped 41 percent to 1,008 so far this year from 715 last year, while theft increased 25 percent to 3,304 through October from 2,643 in the same period last year.

Falk said a shortage of police officers is one reason for the crime surge.

A committee meeting to look at proposed recommendations concerning the shortage of resources in the Windward District is scheduled for Nov. 25 at 7 p.m. at the Kailua Recreation Center, 21 S. Kainalu Drive.

Last month, 100 out of 198 larceny-theft cases in Kailua were reported to be thefts from vehicles, Falk said.

Generally, a large number of thefts are reported from cars parked near popular Lanikai Beach and Kailua Beach Park, Falk said.

Like Falk, Lt. Michael Correa of the burglary and theft detail at the Kailua police station said thefts are primarily occurring around the district's coastal areas where beachgoers park their vehicles along roads near Windward Oahu's popular beaches.

Criminals will steal a vehicle and use it to travel to Kailua to steal from parked cars, he said. They will then dump the stolen vehicle and take another car to return to where they came from, Falk said.

A combination of repeat offenders and the use of crystal methamphetamine has contributed to the increased property crimes, Correa said.

In a U.S. Department of Justice report, Honolulu criminals had the highest percentage of males among 37 major cities who tested positive for crystal methamphetamine, or "ice."

"They're stealing to support their drug habit," Correa said.

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