A burglary by an inmate raises security concerns
Residents wonder why complex has no security
Honolulu police officers were called to a Kalihi housing project Monday morning, to capture an escaped convict who had broken into a vacant unit.
That incident left some residents wondering why there isn't any security at their public housing complex.
"I heard some people running. I looked outside and there were four policemen going back and forth and I thought something was going on," said "Caocko", a resident of Puahala Homes.
That something was the search for Carlton James Santos, an inmate who was supposed to be on a work furlough. Instead, neighbors said Santos entered his sister's apartment. Police were called and Santos took off when they showed up.
Residents said Santos ran into an open empty unit, which was being worked on by two maintenance men. When police surrounded the unit, Santos did not allow the two men to leave. He ended up being charged with kidnapping, escape and other offenses -- when police arrested him.
That empty unit had seen a lot of action in the past few days, ever since a family moved out. J.M. lives above the unit and had to call police on Friday and Saturday nights after nearly a dozen people broke in.
"What I saw, was a guy bringing his friends in there. They were partying inside, drinking and smoking," said J.M.
Residents said the biggest problem in their housing project was with vacant units, but occupied apartments had also been burglarized.
"There are people who don't live here, coming in and out. So it would be better if they have security or something," said J.M.
But residents said there was no security at Puahala Homes.
"We are the security. Everybody watches each other's units -- that's the only security I know of," said Lani Laloulu.
Longtime residents said there had been some steps to clear the project of troublemakers, but like the gaping holes in the fences, some felt there were still gaping holes in those efforts. Monday's criminal activity reminded them more could be done.
"If you are going to have break-ins like this, why not have security?" asked Laloulu.
Residents said management was looking at adding security to the housing project. In the meantime, a community policing effort may be organized next month.
Santos, a convicted robber, would have been up for parole in November, but will now head back to court on Thursday to face new charges.
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