It started as a pilot program three years ago — police using flash cameras to help deter crime at public parks after hours.
Target has once again donated money for more cameras, and two of them were recently installed at Hans L’Orange Park.
It’s a park used by the HPU baseball team, the American Legion and AJA baseball leagues, and even high school baseball teams.
But when the bright lights go out, it’s almost pitch black at Hans L’Orange Park, which is ideal for the homeless and ideal for crime.
Police installed two solar-powered flash cameras at the park last week.
They turn on once the park closes at 10 p.m.
“You can’t have the lights on all night, which would be the best deterrent to have a well-lit area, but at least the cameras will serve as a deterrent,” Waipahu Neighborhood Board Vice Chair Cory Chun said.
The cameras are motion-activated, and they snap a photo of anyone who crosses their path.
There’s also a voice recorder that says: “Stop, this is a restricted area, and your photograph was just taken.”
“I think it’s smart but it’s not going to help as much because the people around here don’t care if they get caught,” said regular park user Skye Dela Cruz.
In fact, despite the cameras, thieves still broke into the park on Sunday night.
They cut a big hole in the fence, then broke into a storage container, and stole equipment including a drill, batteries, a grinder, and a saw.
Thieves also broke into the storage closets between the bathrooms.
Both areas are away from where the cameras are mounted.
“This was the first time I actually got to see the actual breaking in, the holes in the fences, the locks that are broken. It’s kind of shocking,” Chun said.
The park’s caretaker told KHON2 it’s been an ongoing problem — people breaking in at night, stealing things, vandalizing the park, and the homeless illegally camping.
The cameras are a start but they can only do so much.
Police are also installing the new flash cameras in other parts of the island, mainly at parks.
And police can ultimately use the photos as evidence for a criminal case.