Manoa residents urged to lock up, no matter how safe it seems

A rash of car break-ins in Manoa has Honolulu police concerned.

Not just because of the frequency of it, but because the victims made it too easy. The cars were left unlocked.

The Honolulu Police Department says from Sunday to Monday, nine cars were broken into on Waaloa Place and Pinao Street. All the vehicles were left unlocked.

The incidents have HPD and the Manoa Neighborhood Board asking residents to take all the necessary precautions against theft.

A security expert says no matter how safe you feel in your neighborhood, you should never take the chance of leaving your car unlocked overnight. That’s just the reality of the world we live in.

Theft victim Thomas Nakano knew something was wrong when he noticed the driver’s side door of his car was left slightly open.

“My eight dollars was right here,” he said.

Nakano is one of the nine victims who left his car unlocked, so thieves took the cash and ransacked the car.

“They looked in the glove compartment and they ransacked it, yeah,” Nakano said, but “they didn’t take the registration.”

Residents say there were at least three cars broken into on the street. Some of the items stolen included baseball bats and a knapsack.

It seems thieves were just trying to grab what they could and get out fast.

“Honolulu is one of the safest cities you can live in, but you still have crime here and you have to realize that,” said former Honolulu police chief Lee Donohue. He says there is no real safe spot anymore.

“Although you may think that you live in a wonderful neighborhood and you probably do, you have to secure your belongings,” Donohue said.

Donohue says residents have to do all the necessary things, like locking up, set up a neighborhood security watch, and report anything suspicious.

The Manoa Neighborhood Board says many residents have a false sense of security.

“People live like they always have here,” said Manoa Neighborhood Board Chairman Dale Kobayashi. “They’re very trusting. They know their neighbors and it’s really something that is unfortunate that we have to stop being that way.”

“It’s sad to think that people are always going to have to lock their cars, lock their houses because it’s not as safe as it once was here,” said Manoa Neighborhood Boardmember Harvey Arkin.

The board says there were five car break-ins in April and it jumped to 16 in May.

Another disturbing trend is some type of gang activity.

“They left some markings on the car with spray paint and it was ‘YK’ or something. Anyway, it belongs to a gang from Palolo,” said Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi.

Residents are asked to keep looking out for each other and to lock their cars, even when they’re parked in their carports and don’t leave any valuables in the car, especially in plain view.

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