Chinatown is prized by locals and visitors alike for its public markets, restaurants, theaters, art galleries and cultural and historical sites. In addition, it is home to many local residents and businesses.
Addressing immediate public health and safety concerns, Mayor Rick Blangiardi has authorized the Honolulu Police Department (HPD) to significantly increase its presence in Chinatown to shut down activity which is threatening the community and ensure compliance with COVID-19 emergency orders.
“I am appalled with the level of illegal activity in Chinatown. The current situation is unacceptable and we must put a stop to it,” said Mayor Rick Blangiardi. “Our team is working with HPD to protect this community from unsafe and illegal activities, lewd and indecent behaviors, and physical threats to residents, businesses and customers and stop the spread of COVID-19.”
The plan is four, six hour shifts of HPD officers providing 24/7 coverage in Chinatown with enforcement focused on three patrol zones stretching from River Street to Bishop Street between N. Beretania Street and N. King Street. Each shift will have one supervisor and six officers working in pairs assigned to zones, reporting enforcement statistics on a daily basis.
Since taking office, Mayor Blangiardi has heard multiple times from the Chinatown community about the significant increase in illegal and public health and safety threatening behaviors, including public spitting, urination and defecation, activity which compromises the health and safety of law abiding citizens.
The increased police officer presence serves as a direct deterrent to criminal activity creating a safer environment for all, as well as an additional prevention measure to the unsanitary activities that could spread COVID-19 or its variants.
The increased enforcement is anticipated to begin in July and continue through the end of December 2021, or as necessary.