Dozens of cameras will be installed over the next year in Waikiki and on the Big Island as part of a statewide effort to increase the use of video surveillance to reduce crimes against tourists, reports the Honolulu Advertiser. The Hawai’i Tourism Authority tested the program at tourists spots on O’ahu in 2005 and 2006 and found the cameras caused a “significant reduction” in vehicle break-ins. The Big Island County Council 6-0 yesterday to authorize use of the cameras on that island with HTA covering the $500,000 cost.
Similar projects are being planned by county officials on Maui and Kaua’i, and Honolulu officials are planning to boost video surveillance in Waikiki, according to HTA strategic planner Momi Akimseu. A lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai’i questioned the cameras’ effectiveness at preventing crimes and raised the issue of the loss of privacy. “We should not give in to the impulse to blanket our public spaces and streets with government video surveillance, and turn our aloha state into a police state,” said Laurie Temple, staff attorney for the ACLU of Hawai’i.