Prosecutor’s plan to curb crime? Build a new prison

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Does Hawaii need another prison?

That’s what Honolulu City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro says would help curb crime including the incidents in Kailua.

More than 100 Kailua residents heard this recommendation which received a big applause.

“This is a huge turnout. How many of you are here because of your concern about the crime in Kailua?” a Kailua Neighborhood Board member asked.

On Thursday night it was standing room only at the Kailua Neighborhood Board meeting.

“They’re here because they don’t feel safe,” another member said.

Many angry and concerned residents looking to Kaneshiro for answers.

“I feel very upset about Kailua being in this situation. We always felt very safe here,” Kailua resident Cynthia Smith said.

For the past four months residents have complained about the crime here.

Last month there were 55 car break-ins, 53 thefts and 28 burglaries in Kailua.

“But I have one solution to that problem that I’m going to recommend to the Legislature and would like your support and that is we need to build a new prison here,” Kaneshiro said.

Kaneshiro says the problem isn’t that the city can’t prosecute criminals. The problem is that offenders are being put on probation because there’s not enough bed space in our prisons.

“And the direction our state is going is to reduce the amount of people in prison, to reduce the amount of people we send to prison, and all of this at the expense of public safety,” Kaneshiro said.

“I think that if judges are releasing people because they don’t have room, I don’t think we have a choice,” Smith said.

While Kaneshiro will give his opinion to the legislature next year Honolulu police say there are things residents can do now.

“A lot of time, the vehicles are unlocked so please lock your vehicle but most importantly don’t put your valuables in plain sight,” HPD Lt. John Vines said.

Kaneshiro didn’t say where this new prison should be built or how much it could cost.

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