Bike detail to police airport parking lot

Security upgrade begins today with mission to deter vehicle break-ins — especially at night

Securitas Bike Detail security officers Hector Bacay (right) and Boni Garma patrol the Kahului Airport parking lot Thursday morning. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

KAHULUI — New, around-the-clock bike security detail starts today at Kahului Airport’s main public parking lot to deter potential break-ins and to provide increased presence during nighttime hours.

Although only six vehicle break-ins at the main public parking lot were reported to the airport over the last six months, according to airport officials, the bike detail is a proactive way to increase safety for vehicles and passengers at the airport. The lot holds nearly 2,000 cars daily.

“We want to make sure our traveling public and employees are somewhat assured that the parking lot is safe, especially during the night,” said Blake Takayama, head of airport security, which the state contracts out to Securitas security company. “We want to be proactive.”

Vehicle break-ins occur most often at night and target Hondas, Toyotas and Lexus brands, Takayama said. Theft reports include losses of cash, tools, CDs, gas and even truck tailgates.

The main public parking lot has a capacity of about 2,000 vehicles, and about 1,600 spaces are occupied on any given day, said Maui District Airport Manager Marvin Moniz. About 35 to 40 percent of the vehicles stay overnight, which is a higher-risk time for break-ins and suspicious activity, he said.

Takayama

Bicycle patrols have been working well at Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, and Maui is the first Neighbor Island to implement one, Takayama said.

“The convenience and quick response makes it successful,” he said.

Also, bicycles are harder to detect visually and produce minimal noise, unlike motor-powered surveillance methods, officials said.

“People can see when police vehicles are coming, but with this you can’t hear it and it’s harder to see,” Moniz said.

Takayama said the bike detail will include two to five security personnel per shift, which will run around the clock starting today, except during inclement weather. Officers in the bike detail have been training for a few months with road tests and obstacle courses.

Boni Garma, an airport security bike detail officer who starts early today, said he will be looking for “anything out of the obvious, anything suspicious, people who shouldn’t be there, or people who are just lurking around.”

In addition to suspicious activity, the bike detail will continue to survey the lot for infractions such as prohibited parking, blocking fire lanes and obstructing traffic.

Takayama added that the bike detail can accompany airport staff members to their vehicles during late or early-morning hours.

“The other important thing we like about the bikes is that the employees going to the parking lot late at night can be escorted, or even the passengers,” he said.

* Kehaulani Cerizo can be reached at kcerizo@mauinews.com.

Parking Tips

• Don’t leave valuables visible.

• Make sure vehicle is secured.

• Be aware of surroundings; check to see if anyone’s watching or loitering.

• Take extra care if leaving vehicle overnight, especially for targeted vehicle brands.

For suspicious activity, vehicle vandalism or break-ins, call airport police at 872-3875.

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