The police chief said Monday that a turf war between a local and San Francisco organized crime groups is to blame for the recent high profile violence in Chinatown.
The chief said the police department is committing "substantial resources" to bring the situation under control.
People who live and work in the Chinatown and downtown area have been calling for a crackdown on the recent violence.
Chinatown is on edge after a brazen fatal shooting in Chinatown and a stabbing that left a man critically wounded in the last week and a half.
"We'll do whatever is necessary to make Chinatown safe and we're not going to lose control of the streets and that's the main thing. The police will control the streets," said Honolulu Police Chief Boisse Correa.
Correa said HPD and federal authorities are devoting extra personnel to patrol the area. Correa wouldn't give details how many personnel have been added, but he said, "We have put in substantial resources, both undercover, investigative and patrol, uniformed."
He said police officers from Crime Reduction Units, the specialized services division, along with vice and traffic enforcement personnel have been shifted from other areas of Oahu to the downtown-Chinatown area.
Correa said gangs are to blame for the violence.
"A gang that's come in from San Francisco, Calif. and they're fighting over turf on who will distribute certain type of drugs and who will take control of certain types of activities in the downtown area," Correa said.
He said 10 to 20 San Francisco gang members are in town now and some have been there on and off for about a decade.
"We've put a lot of effort in moving this group out of Honolulu and then different individuals will come back into Honolulu -- all part of this same group," Correa said.
He said the San Francisco gang is fighting with a local organized crime group over who controls the drug trade, mostly cocaine but also Ecstasy and other drugs in Chinatown.
The police chief said the extra manpower has been phased in. Some of it was phased in before the recent shooting and stabbing and more staffing was added after the recent violence.