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Campsites By Library An ‘Ongoing Problem’

While conflicts among the homeless population may not seem widespread in Kaneohe, visitors to its library and civic center soccer field may think otherwise, and the police acknowledge the problem.

“About six to 10 adults, not families, use the restroom (on the field) and stage themselves on the mauka side,” said Officer Spencer Andersen of HPD’s District 4 Community Policing Team. “We’ve been checking with them every two to three weeks around 3 a.m. and issuing citations. We also remove their stuff, including (camping tents and gear pitched) under the highway bridge, but the unfortunate part is that two or three days later, they come back.

“That area is an ongoing problem.”

As two of the four landowners in the area, both city and state send personnel and trucks periodically to remove campers’ belongings. Andersen said the most recent cleanup filled two trucks.

The library Friends bookstore downstairs reports thefts from its donation bin, and Andersen confirms that even police officers have had items stolen from their cars. And the library’s busy Sunday crowd recently witnessed a loud confrontation between some of the campers.

The Sept. 28 yelling match attracted officers in two patrol cars from the Kaneohe police station right up the hill, temporarily blocking egress. They separated the upset men, talked to them and calmed them down over a one-hour period, as observed by this reporter.

In a related move, Andersen would like to urge the public to attend the Community Safety Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday at Windward Mall, a program designed to promote safety awareness and networking with law enforcement and local agencies. He will attend and plans to talk to intake staff from IHS about the Kaneohe homeless problem.

The fair includes speeches, resource tables, Keiki ID, displays of HPD crime statistics, and meeting with Neighborhood Watch groups and citizens’ patrols. Vaihi, Humanity, Soul Free and others will entertain. For traffic safety, the public is invited to sign the Pedestrian Pledge, and Lance Rae will lead Walk Wise Hawaii.

The event’s overall theme is “Let criminals know that the Windward Neighborhoods are organized and fighting crime back!”

For more information, call Andersen at 723-8874.