Residents' reports of crime in Aina Haina prompt city to close beach parks at night
Kawaikui Beach Park and Wailupe Beach Park off Kalaniana'ole Highway have long been relaxing green spaces for East Honolulu residents. Many go there to fish along the coast at night.
But park goers note that over the past year, the area has been overrun by people doing and selling drugs, getting drunk, making loud noises, and leaving garbage strewn around.
"You don't feel safe in your own backyard," said Mariliz Reilly, East Honolulu resident and realtor. "The residents who live right near are hearing them all night. It's supposed to be a community where you can go fishing, take your family."
Residents like Reilly say police citations aren't enough, so they are asking Honolulu Hale for help.
"They're concerned because of increased criminal activity, not major type of activity, but breaking an entry into homes that they access from these parts in the evening," said Mayor Kirk Caldwell.
In response, the City has closed the parks from 10pm to 5am.
"It doesn't prevent people crossing to do legitimate activity along the coast," said Mayor Caldwell. "But it doesn't allow people to drive in, just hang around and create mischief once the park closure starts."
One park regular says he's already noticed the difference in the one day the law has taken effect.
He says the area is quieter and cleaner. And he feels safer.
Just what the park is meant to do -- offer a safe space for residents to enjoy.