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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 12:10 p.m., Tuesday, December 18, 2001

Holiday crime spike part of yule season

By Vicki Viotti
Advertiser Staff Writer

Have yourself a merry little Christmas. Have some cash, handed over at gunpoint. Have some merchandise, unpaid for as it may be.

It's all a part of the annual holiday-season crime wave police have come to expect.

"It's a tradition," said Lt. Cliff Takesono, who heads the robbery detail at the Honolulu Police Department. "Like a Christmas carol at the end of the year."

For the past two Christmases, robbery counts spiked up between November and December: from 65 to 96 in 1999, and from 75 to 89 last year.

Last year, burglaries rose from 544 in November to 627 in December.

Property crimes increase generally, said Lt. Sherman Chan, because everyone leaves their guard down at this time of year, and the crooks know it.

Chan, whose area of concern is the East Honolulu district, said he has dispatched patrol officers to key neighborhoods in Hawai'i Kai, Kapahulu and elsewhere to be more visible and to warn residents of the risks to their property.

"People still leave their purses in their cars," he said. "It's so obvious. A lot of people think that just because it's in a car it's safe, but it's not safe.

"We encourage people to be aware of their surroundings, not to carry much cash," he said. "People aren't aware of what's going on. They get caught up in the pre-Christmas spirit."

And so do the crooks.