HONOLULU (KITV4) - Public safety and tourism leaders are taking more steps to address growing crimes in Waikiki.
The Visitor Industry Public Safety Coalition and the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association hosted today's safety conference at the Hawaii Convention Center. It was open to the public.
"Most of Waikiki's homeless are imported. November is the biggest time when people from the mainland decide it's too cold and spend their last dollars for a one-way ticket to Hawaii. Now the state, city and county are responsible to give all of them assistance," said Robert Finley, chair of the Waikiki Neighborhood Association.
Many Waikiki board members said they want to focus on making residential homes safer.
"When the streets close and people are kicked off the streets, they go into residential parking garages. We are constantly cleaning out garage of feces, urine and electrical damage," said Finley.
However, some organization leaders at the conference said it is not just the homeless committing crime, but youths from other parts of Oahu.
"A lot of them come here to hijack do a lot of burglaries, stealing and harassing our tourists that come. It's about having them understand that Waikiki is a big part of our community and economy," said Deborah Spencer-Chun, president of Adult friends for Youth.
Waikiki Police Maj. Randall Platt said the number of home burglaries so far this year are estimated to be higher than last year's. Several crimes are actually decreasing in number, among them, thefts, robberies and assault.
Platt said car thefts have gone down significantly this year -- 22 were reported in 2022 compared to 133 in 2021.
The conference had two sessions — the first about mental health, substance abuse and the homeless problem. The second part was about the progress of the multi-agency "Safe and Sound" program in Waikiki.
Leaders said there have been more arrests and businesses here are feeling a little safer.