Could gangs be back in Kalihi?
An increase in violent youth is just one of the concerns for the Kalihi community.
Parts of North King Street are still dim, five months after 55-year-old Dominador Aguilar Junior was hit and killed along the Kalihi road.
Where he died a set of brighter LED lights went in over the crosswalk, but residents wait for the rest of the dark road to be lit up.
“There have been fatalities here in Kalihi in the past few months on over a quarter-mile strip of road. We just want to make the situation better,” said Daniel Holt, the chair of the Kalihi-Palama Neighborhood Board.
The city has plans to switch the lamppost lighting to the brighter LEDs, buy a timetable to do that hasn’t been given to the community.
Dim streetlights aren’t the only reason Kalihi is going through a dark time.
“We are having youth violence, gang violence. It seems to be centered around Farrington High School,” stated Holt.
Violence has some worried about a resurgence of gangs and the problems they bring.
“Residents are seeing more of the weapons and more of the fights,” stated Debbie Spencer-Chun with Adult Friends for Youth.
“There have been big fights. A woman said the youth were running through the housing project with knives and a handgun. When it gets to that level something needs to be done,” said Holt.
On Monday, a teen reportedly pulled out a gun on the Kalihi street. But just as surprising was the reaction from other teens.
“They’re not afraid when it comes to fighting. Recently there was firearm branded and nobody ran,” said Malakai Maumalanga, with Adult Friends for Youth.
In fact, many gather around. Crowds of spectators come out to see the violence. They are even given advanced notice of fights or challenges, posted on social media by gang members.
Kids have been taught how to use this technology, and they are using it to do negative behaviors: Posting inciting messages and challenging people to fight from other communities.
To help deal with the increase in violence, a task force formed to bring together those impacted by it, and those who may be able to reach the teens themselves.
The group says combating the violence will be a challenge, without any city or state funds while some in the community don’t even want to admit there is a problem to begin with.