For safety - Be
Security increased after
Fort Street attacks
Students reminded of safety
by Nathalie Parkvall, Science & Environment editor
HPU security enlarged its patrolling area after two students
fell victim to two unrelated crimes on Fort Street Mall in
May. Since one of the incidents took place between campus
buildings and Hotel Street, the patrol has been extended to
include the Hotel Street bus stop area, according to Chief
Security Officer Luaselau Fesili.
“The First Hawaiian building security officer walks down
to the bus stop every 10-15 minutes after the sun goes down,”
Fesili said, and added that after 6 p.m., the guard stationed
at the Library building patrols the bus stop regularly as
“A lot more students are confident walking to the bus stop
now,” he said.
Officer Luaselau Fesili
The lower Fort Street Mall incident occurred near the Subway
sandwich shop where two local males robbed and assaulted a
male student who was on his way home from the library around
8:30 p.m. The student was injured and reported the incident
to police. The second incident took place near Beretania Street,
where a homeless person, unprovoked, assaulted a female student
in broad daylight. The female attacker, sitting by a tree,
suddenly “got up, looked at the student, hit her, and then
left,” said HPU security guard Doug Maiava, who witnessed
the attack. Maiava immediately called Fesili, who followed
the attacker until police arrived and arrested her. The victim’s
back was bruised by the blow, but she suffered no other injury.
These two incidents are reminders that everyone in the downtown
area – students, faculty, staff, and others – should be careful
and safety conscious, especially at night. Honolulu is said
to be one of the safest cities in the United States. However,
one shouldn’t forget that it is a metropolitan area, and that
crime still occur.
“It is important to understand that Fort Street Mall is public
property, and not a campus,” said Vice President Rick Stepien.
“When walking on Fort Street Mall, one should be as safety
conscious as if walking on Kalakaua,” he added. Since Fort
Street Mall is public property, HPU security doesn’t have
the same authority over the area as the police. They have
no right to put their hands on anybody or tell someone to
leave the area. However, they do have the right to protect
students from harm just as any other citizen could if witnessing
someone being attacked.
“Our job is basically to protect, defer, and report,” Fesili
explained. “If anybody brings physical harm on students or
staff, we will intervene. We can use force, but basically,
we’re trying to deter that.” Fesili recently attended a neighborhood
board meeting where he made a request for better lighting
on Fort Street Mall, he said.
Fesili also said that the Police Department is aware of the
Fort Street Mall situation, and suggested the following simple
safety-conscious precautions one should take to avoid becoming
a victim when moving in the downtown area, or anywhere else.
· If you walk in the downtown and Fort Street
Mall area at night, walk in lighted areas wherever possible,
and walk briskly.
· Walk in the middle of Fort Street Mall and
avoid the building and shop entrances where criminals are
likely to lurk.
· Keep your eyes and ears open and stay alert
to your surroundings.
· Avoid suspicious people and don’t show fear.
· Don’t wear a lot of jewelry or display valuables.
· Politely deny strangers’ requests for money,
· If possible, at night, walk with classmates
or other people you know.
Remember that you can ask an HPU security guard to escort
you to the downtown bus stop or to your car, even during the
day. “A lot of students don’t know about this,” Fesili said,
“but as long as they ask for it, we’ll do it.” “When we do
an escort, we ask for [the students’] names and social security
numbers, so that we can make a report,” he added.
According to Stepien, any assault or robbery involving HPU
students downtown is reported to the Downtown Neighborhood
Board, and, sometimes, the Mayor’s office. The University
has been informed that more HPD foot patrols of the Fort Street
Mall area will be routinely conducted. “This will be a welcomed
addition to the overall security of the area,” Stepien said.
If you see any suspicious persons or activity, or observe
a crime on Fort Street Mall, report it to university security
or the police. You can reach security at 753-7304 or at voice
pager 530-6812. You can reach the Police Department at 911.