Recent crime in Waikiki involving teens, causes concern
"The first time I saw it I thought well it's kind of odd that it's a juvenile, but the second time that it happened does indicate to me that there is something else that's going on out there," Waikiki Neighborhood Board vice chairman, Louis Erteschik said.
In the past few months alone, violent crime in Hawaii's top tourist destination involved teenagers.
Just this week, a 16-year-old teen was charged with murder following a fatal stabbing along Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki. A 21-year-old man and two other juveniles were also arrested on suspicion of second degree murder, but were later released pending an investigation.
The second incident happened earlier this month, a man from Schofield Barracks was beaten and stabbed near Lewers Street. A juvenile male was arrested in connection with that attack.
And back in September, 18-year-old Jordan Smith was charged with murder after opening fire on a group of people in front of Alley Cats on Kuhio Avenue.
"The fact that we've had all this whole rash of violent crimes.. with accompanying death of the victims is particularly concerning," Waikiki Neighborhood Board vice chairman, Louis Erteschik said.
The Waikiki Neighborhood board says not only is it concerning that this is happening in a tourist haven, but also that teens are being arrested in connection with the crimes.
"The first time I saw it I thought well it's kind of odd that it's a juvenile, but the second time that it happened does indicate to me that there is something else that's going on out there," Erteschik said.
Erteschik says he would like stricter enforcement on the minor curfew law, which prohibits juveniles under the age of 16 from being on public streets from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.
"It may not be the simplest thing to always enforce.. But for the most part we should be starting to enforce these things," Erteschik added.
Alika Campbell, a program manager for the Waikiki drop-in center, Youth Outreach (YO) says some of the teens out on the streets in Waikiki are homeless, and life for them is day-to-day survival. Campbell says most teens tend to gravitate towards Waikiki rather than Chinatown, because they feel it's safer and that they can blend in.
"Waikiki has always been a youth gathering area.. If your on the run, got kicked out," Campbell said. "The spike in youth minor committed violence is different. There's always a certain level of street violence but this is different.. and we at 'YO" don't have a whole lot of knowledge of what causes of that."
He says 'YO' sees about 500 to 600 clients per year and says to his knowledge, none of them were involved in any of the recent violent crimes. Campbell adds that the center serves as a safe haven for homeless youths, offering medical care, social services, and support in hopes of helping create positive change.
According to last years HPD Annual Crime Report, the total number of juvenile arrest were down from 4,267 in 2015 to 3,717 in 2016.
Regardless-- with the recent crimes in Waikiki, the Neighborhood board says they would still like to see more police presence, more surveillance cameras, and the curfew law enforced. Campbell says he is aware HPD has added more officers on bikes, but he would also like to see more police on foot patrolling the Waikiki area.