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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, January 1, 2006

Kona residents banding together to guard homes

Advertiser Staff

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Kailua, Kona, Hawai'i

Population: 9,870

Median Age: 65.5

Children: 2,698

65 and older: 985

Total households: 3,537

Married-couple households: 1,756

Average number of people per household: 2.78

Average family size: 3.26

Homeownership rate: 51.3

Race: White, 3,815, 38.7%; Asian, 1,804, 18.3%; Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 1,299, 13.2%; Other, 29.8%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

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A rash of burglaries on the Big Island's Kona Coast has residents organizing more neighborhood watches.

Police in West Hawai'i reported 30 burglary cases in October and November, and the frequency of burglaries continued into December.

Through the year, burglars have targeted areas from Holualoa and Kaloko Mauka on the slopes of Hualalai, above Kona, north along the Kohala Coast.

Lydia Weiss, whose parents were burgled this month, and another Kaloko neighbor who also was victimized have organized patrols in an effort to identify suspicious vehicles and people.

Volunteers are even escorting strangers out of the neighborhood.

"Police can't do it alone. There's just not enough of them," Weiss said. "It's not like the old days where you have police officers walking down the street twirling their batons. We have to take it upon ourselves."

The South Kona region usually only has two patrol officers on duty each shift. The area has 41 active neighborhood watches and community patrols out on the streets, according to South Kona neighborhood watch coordinator Brenda Ford.

Police are urging residents to secure their homes, take inventory of their valuables, get dogs, know their neighbors and watch for strangers.

There have been two recent arrests, but police are urging residents to remain on their guard.