Security Questioned At Kailua Lot

Published On: Jun 07 2009 02:27:07 AM HST   Updated On: Jun 07 2009 02:39:23 AM HST

Honolulu police have yet to recover the guns and ammunition stolen from an off-duty police officer's car on Friday afternoon.

The break-in has thrown the spotlight on security at the city parking lot in Kailua.

The break-in happened in the basement of a public parking lot attached to a senior housing complex.

Those who occasionally use the lot said they never thought break-ins were a problem.

"It's an old folks home. It doesn't seem like it would be too bad to park here," said Zach Liedke.

The shaded metered stalls are popular with those who frequent the nearby restaurants, as well as those who work or visit the medical building nearby.

"Parking lot, Kailua ? middle of the day. I wouldn't worry about it at all," Liedke said.

But residents who live in the building tell a different story. Helen Walker said she recently helped circulate a petition for increased security. Her car was a target of vandals along with others who had parked in the lot.

"They have actually broken a window in the day. They are very brazen," Walker said.

Residents said there used to be 24-hour security for the lot but now there is only a guard at night.

"Some people are misled. They think the guard is for Lani Huli -- the elderly housing. But is for the public parking and I think the people who work in this are will feel safer knowing that we have a security guard during the day," Walker said.

The complex has had a problem with people sleeping in and around the structure. Safety was enough of a problem that they installed a gate inside the garage for Lani Huli. One area resident said she worries about her mother's safety.

"I tell her, 'Don't park here because of the crime.' When you park here, you are taking chances," she said.

Councilmember Ikaika Anderson said he supports the idea of 24-hour security.

Funding didn't make it in this year's budget but Anderson's office said that among ideas being tossed around is a proposal to alternate the hours of security guards to provide more even coverage.

The parking signs warn that the city isn't responsible for any thefts, but that doesn't help city police who now have to worry about their weapons and ammunition in the wrong hands.


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