[Hpn] ALERT: Tourism Security Conference targets homeless people again FWD

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Thu, 18 May 2000 21:29:39 -0700 (PDT)

ALERT: Tourism Security Conference targets homeless people again  FWD

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FWD  Associated Press - AP Wire Service - May 17, 2000
     [ USA news ]


LAS VEGAS (AP) _ Las Vegas might be a bigger tourist destination
than Honolulu, but Sheriff Jerry Keller thinks local authorities
can learn from the way police in paradise handle tourism safety

Honolulu Police Chief Lee Donohue said Tuesday that because
crime has decreased in Hawaii's largest city, police there are
addressing other public safety issues that gnaw at its 900,000

Las Vegas authorities and Keller are familiar with the issues
because residents have been pressing local leaders to do something
about similar ones _ the distribution of handbills and the
monitoring of the homeless population.

Donohue spoke Tuesday at the ninth annual Tourism Safety and
Security Conference at the Tropicana hotel-casino. About 200 law
enforcement and private security professionals worldwide attended
the three-day conference, which ended Wednesday.

Even though Las Vegas gets about seven times the number of
tourists who visit Honolulu, Keller said he thinks he can pick up
pointers from Donohue.

Like Las Vegas, Honolulu's crime rates have dropped dramatically
in the past four years.

``But we found that it's not enough to reduce crime,'' Donohue
said. ``So we went out into the community and found other public
safety issues of concern to our residents.''

Donohue found the public wanted police to deal with the
proliferation of prostitution, handbilling and street performers.
Donohue said he decided to attack the problems the same way he
tackled other crime problems _ by forming a task force and
involving the community in developing solutions.

A few years ago, an organized group of criminals began targeting
tourists in purse snatchings and pickpocketing, Donohue said. His
community task force worked with police to focus more attention on
the thefts and word went out that those crimes would be prosecuted

Now the focus is on other problems. Donohue said his department
is working with Hawaii's Institute for Human Services and the
Veterans Administration to reduce prostitution and prevent crimes
against the homeless.

Donohue said the number of homeless people has dwindled, thanks
to counseling from the social services agency. The veterans group
is influential on prostitution issues because of the large number
of military personnel stationed at Pearl Harbor and Hickam Air
Force Base, minutes from Waikiki, Honolulu's center of tourism.

Donohue said local ordinances have been passed to limit the
locations where handbills can be distributed.

Keller said Honolulu's tourism safety issues parallel those in
Las Vegas, where police are trying to develop solutions to handbill
distributors, who usually peddle adult literature to tourists.

Appellate courts have struck down local ordinances because they
violated free speech guarantees. He said local officials are trying
to focus attention on public safety concerns and not free-speech
issues in their efforts to curtail handbills.

Keller said social service agencies also have been involved in
helping the homeless in Las Vegas.

AP-WS-05-17-00 1840EDT
Received  Id AP1001385A32B654 on May 17 2000 17:46


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