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City using private security to lock up some Oahu parks at night

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    Beretania Community Park is one of the parks involved in a three-month pilot project to lock up gates and bathrooms at night in an effort to deter vandalism. The project began this month.

After more than 600 acts of vandalism to city parks in three years, Mayor Kirk Caldwell today unveiled a three-month pilot project that began this month to lock up gates and bathrooms when city parks are supposed to be off limits.

The program relies on a private security company, American Guard Services Inc., to lock bathrooms and gates at night at city parks that have them. Park employees then unlock the bathrooms and gates each morning.

At the same time, Caldwell has ordered parks officials to install gates on park bathrooms that don’t have them. But that project is complicated because the city’s bathroom entrances are not uniform, he said.

Out of nearly 300 parks, more than 210 have bathrooms, said parks and recreation spokesman Nathan Serota.

“Some of them have (bathroom) gates and some of them do not,” Serota said.

Today’s announcement follows the installation of security cameras at Sandy Beach, Ala Moana Beach Park and Kaiaka Bay Beach Park on the North Shore that Caldwell said have proven successful in deterring vandalism.

Since the pilot project to lock up bathrooms and gates at 25 beach parks from Sandy Beach to Aiea began, there have been no acts of vandalism at night when the parks are closed, said Angela Watson, American Guard’s Hawaii branch manager.

The only incident, graffiti at a Sandy Beach bathroom, occurred during the day over Easter weekend, Watson said.

The city is paying American Guard Services $25,916 during the pilot period that runs from April through June.

Caldwell seemed optimistic that the experiment will be expanded islandwide and may involve changing parks employees hours so they can lock gates and bathrooms at night.

“If it makes a difference, and I believe it will, then we’ll try to roll it out island wide,” Caldwell said today at Kapaolono Community Park on 11th Ave.

The parks involved in the pilot program are:

>> Sandy Beach Park

>> Koko Head District Park

>> Waiʻalae Beach Park

>> Wilson Community Park

>> Petrie Community Park

>> Kapaolono Community Park

>> Palolo Valley District Park

>> Crane Community Park

>> Kanewai Community Park

>> Old Stadium Park

>> Ala Wai Neighborhood Park

>> Ala Wai Community Park

>> Dole Community Park

>> Smith-Beretania Park

>> ʻAʻala Park

>> Beretania Community Park

>> Kauluwela Mall

>> Na Pueo Mini Park

>> Loʻi Kalo Mini Park

>> Kalihi Uka Community Park

>> Fern Community Park

>> Keʻehi Lagoon Park

>> Moanalua Community Park

>> Ala Puʻumalu Community Park

>> Salt Lake District Park

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