Ewa Beach community uses social media, technology to battle break-ins

A rash of thefts and break-ins has a waterfront community on edge, but people there are learning to fight back.

Residents at the Waterfront at Puuloa in Ewa Beach alerted KHON2 to the crimes in their neighborhood.

While the community can normally count on round-the-clock security patrols and off-duty police officers to help keep watch, the association as well as its 6,000 residents have also armed themselves with non-traditional methods, including websites and social media.

The neighborhood has been hit with a number of thefts, car break-ins and burglaries. One way the community is fighting back is to send alerts out on the association’s Facebook page.

“To help residents understand how to protect themselves, what to look for, and to hopefully have us all keep an eye out together so we can do everything possible to stop this from happening,” said Addie Kahele, senior community manager.

More and more residents and community associations are turning to websites and social media to alert residents to suspicious activity in their areas.

Residents at the Waterfront at Puuloa have their own Facebook pages, accessible only by residents, to send alerts to each other.

Residents at a Waikele subdivision have their own version of the posse and use e-mail alerts not just to residents in their neighborhood, but to people in surrounding communities as well.

“It started off with 20 people,” said Malcolm Ching, general manager of the Waikele Community Association, “and now when we send out the emails on blind copy, it sends out to 700 people.”

Even people in adjacent communities in Waipahu can join the posse. “Anybody can join the posse, because crime is happening everywhere,” said Ching.

The people at the Waterfront at Puuloa are also planning to walk the beat as well. “We’re working with the residents and HPD on a neighborhood watch program, and we hope everyone will join and be active with that,” said Kahele.

Anyone interested in finding out the criminal activity in a neighborhood can visit the Honolulu Police Department’s website and access the Crime Mapping page. Pick a neighborhood, click on an icon, and find out the type of crime and the date it occurred. You can also e-mail alerts by clicking on the “Receive Crime Alerts” tab.

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