Kailua residents make their frustations known to city prosecutor

Kaneshiro: "We have a system that gives too many chances at the expense of public safety"

Published  11:25 AM HST Oct 04, 2013
KAILUA, Hawaii -

More than 700 crimes took place in Kailua over the past six months, according to the Honolulu Police Department's Crime Mapping web page.

Nearly 300 of those crimes were vehicle break-ins; 124 were burglaries; and 260 were thefts.

"They're sick of it.  They're sick of homeless people riding around on bikes. Unemployed people coming in, breaking in homes. Admitted drug addicts stealing from homes hurting people," Kailua resident Rich Tilghman.

Residents blame repeat offenders, but prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro says otherwise.

"It's not just a few people committing crimes -- it's a bunch of people committing crimes," said Kaneshiro.

One problem both residents and Kaneshiro can agree on is the state's Justice Reinvestment Initiative.  Kaneshiro is against it because the initiative brings home Hawaii prisoners that are currently in Arizona and, to make space in our local prisons, it releases non-violent criminals back into the community.

Some residents agree.

"There's a thing called the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, which is a joke which basically is people get arrested then released into the community immediately and never spend a day in jail.  That's a fact.  You can look that up," said Tilghman.

Kaneshiro wants to change that.

"We have a system that gives too many chances at the expense of public safety," said Kaneshiro.

In Thursday night's meeting, Kaneshiro spoke of one solution -- building a new prison here.  But, until then, he offered another option for stopping those repeat offenders.

Kaneshiro said, "Give me the names of the people and we'll look at them and make sure we'll prosecute them."

That message wasn't just for Kailua residents.  There's several major communities on Oahu where more total crimes occurred in the last six months.

Kaneshiro says if residents want change, they need to make their voices heard when legislation is up for debate.

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