Hawaii Kai residents gathered at Hahaione Elementary School Tuesday night to address a recent string of crime in the community.
There have been 13 brush fires in Kamilo Nui Valley in the last five months, some of which were deemed intentionally set.
Vandalism has also become a problem with rigging slashed on canoes at Maunalua Bay on three separate occasions.
“Hawaii Kai is not known for arson, is not known for vandals,” said Rep. Gene Ward, whose office organized the meeting. “We have a very resilient community, one that doesn’t put up with this kind of stuff, and one that I think tonight is going to be the end of it, at least the beginning of pushing back to whoever’s a vandal out there, whoever is the arson, totally unacceptable behavior. We’re not going to put up with it.”
On May 29, police arrested a 35-year-old male suspect on suspicion of second-degree arson, but he was released pending investigation.
“We’re hoping one of the takeaways tonight is going to be getting more people on the neighborhood watch, which actually now we have an online version called Nextdoor.com,” Ward said. “They can go online, let them know what they’ve seen, what they can notify the police or notify the fire department on, and hopefully we can become a safer community.”
Denise Darval-Chang of Hui Nalu Canoe Club tells KHON2 police arrested a suspect in the vandalism cases.
“Since that arrest, the vandalism has stopped,” she said. “I think we just all have to be more aware of people that are doing things that are foolish and help them, I guess.”
Darval-Chang notes one bright spot: “Challenges brought the club together, a little bit tighter to get things up to speed, and then it also brought the paddling community together, because other clubs were offering support.”
The town hall meeting gave members of the community a chance to speak with lawmakers and representatives from the police and fire departments.
It was led by radio personality Mike Buck.