Ring in the New Year without blue lights: Police see spike in activity over holidays

KAILUA-KONA — New Year’s is an exciting holiday for many Hawaii residents, filled with fireworks, friends and family.

KAILUA-KONA — New Year’s is an exciting holiday for many Hawaii residents, filled with fireworks, friends and family.

Public safety agencies are just as active as anyone else over the holiday, making sure parties doesn’t turn tragic.

Hawaii Police reports spanning Dec. 31 to Jan. 1 over the last three years show more calls and incidents for officers than most non-holiday dates throughout the year.

During the 2012 to 2013 New Year police opened 11 domestic abuse, 15 assault, three disorderly conduct and 11 driving under the influence cases.

In the 2013 to 2014 New Year police opened 13 domestic abuse, 16 assault, four disorderly conduct and 14 driving under the influence cases.

There was a drop in every category in the 2014 to 2015 year, with four domestic abuse, five assault, one disorderly conduct and 7 driving under the influence cases.

Other days in December of that year showed single digit arrests for those categories.

And police said there will be additional officers on duty during the holiday.

Capt. Randall Ishii suggested that people “use common sense,” including making sure they have designated drivers or other plans to get home safely.

Police have adjusted schedules to ensure additional officers will be on during peak hours, he said. Officers will be providing additional patrols and others will be operating DUI checkpoints, Ishii said.

Another change is the 5 p.m. closing today of West Hawaii state parks. Parks closing early include Hapuna, Kiholo and Kekaha Kai (Mahaiula and Kua Bay sections).

“We are closing the parks early to discourage use of fireworks, which are prohibited in state parks, and to protect the public and natural resources of the area,” said DLNR Chairwoman Suzanne Case in a press release.