used her lanai or ventured into the park, which had been overtaken by drug dealers, homeless people and criminals. Nearby businesses, such as the Hilton Waikiki Beach on Kuhio, were concerned with its condition, too.
The once-derelict park has come full-circle thanks to support from community residents, nearby businesses, and Honolulu Police Department officers assigned to the nearby Waikiki police substation, which has been on Kuhio beach since the mid 1980s.
“I made lots of police calls for service,” Young says.
Amazingly Young’s complaints stood out among the 14,321 calls for service that were handled by Waikiki police last year. The department’s community policing team quickly organized a park turnaround.
Waikiki Major Cary Okimoto, who was only 26 when he did his first stint in Waikiki, says he remembers that the substation opened in the mid 1980s after the community lobbied for a 24/7 police presence. While it might seem unusual to some that a roughly twomile neighborhood needs its own police station, Okimoto says Waikiki is unique because of the mix of residents, tourists, business people and criminals that it attracts.
“From a policing standpoint, I feel that people who commit crimes are always going to go to where they think the payoffs are the biggest,” he says. “When you have tourists who don’t know their way around or don’t speak the language, they can more easily fall victim.”
Waikiki is authorized 12 beat officers, a bike detail, and a crime reduction unit made up of plainclothes officers, Okimoto says. In the