Honolulu Shores Up Tourism With Crackdown on Homeless
2014-06-23, 07:09 PM,
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[Image: HOMELESS-master675-v3.jpg]

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HONOLULU — It was just before 7 a.m. and the streets of Waikiki were filled with tourists, surfers, early morning joggers — and Ronnie Cruz, a 34-year-old homeless man getting a ticket from a Honolulu police officer for pushing a shopping cart piled high with his belongings along the sidewalk.

“Happens all the time,” Mr. Cruz said after he made his way to the other side of Kalakaua Avenue. “They won’t let you stand over there.”

“I’ve got four of them,” he said, reaching into a billfold as he displayed the tattered tickets.

This tourist mecca has had a surge in its homeless population, which is up 32 percent over the past five years. The explosion has prompted one of the toughest police crackdowns in the nation, sounded alarms among civic leaders that aggressive panhandlers are scaring off tourists, and set off an anguished debate on how to deal with the destitute in a state that prides itself on its friendly and easygoing ways.

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