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Hawaii enforcement division attempts to clean up harbor area

December 24, 2019 GMT

HONOLULU (AP) — Recent enforcement sweeps by state officials meant to clean up a waterfront area on Oahu resulted in 550 violations, officials said.

The state Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement conducted the sweeps at the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

But area residents said homeless encampments, derelict and sinking boats and piles of trash were evident again only weeks after the sweep, indicating the need for a continued presence.

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The pilot program took place during three weekends in November when enforcement officers patrolled the harbor at night, officials said.

State Sen. Sharon Moriwaki, a Democrat, said the action was successful enough that she hopes to make the pilot a permanent effort, either through a bill or by adding resources to its budget.

The enforcement division is part of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

The division received more than 47 complaints over the last five months about the harbor separate from its enforcement efforts.

The complaints involved criminal activity and security concerns such as illegal parking, boating activities, small-boat harbor rule violations, and violations against people, Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement Chief Jason Redulla said.

“The saturation type of operation was determined to be the initial course of action to address illegal activities because it had been used in the past, and was a successful enforcement model,” Redulla said.

Moriwaki plans to work with the enforcement division to learn its needs to maintain a more permanent presence.

“We need to get the harbor to the point where it’s clean and managed and secure,” Moriwaki said. “We don’t want boats having unexpected visitors or people feeling that they can’t walk about at night without worrying that they could be accosted.”