By Brandon Masuoka
Advertiser Staff Writer
The number of serious crimes reported in Hawaii increased 10 percent in the first half of last year compared to the same period in 1999, according to the attorney generals semi-annual Uniform Crime Report released yesterday.
The state recorded 30,749 serious crimes from January to June last year, compared to 27,942 serious crimes during the same period in 1999, the report said.
Serious crimes are murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft and motor vehicle theft.
The statistics released yesterday include crime figures for Oahu that the FBI reported in December. Those statistics showed serious crimes on Oahu for first six month last year increased 10.7 percent compared with the first six months in 1999.
Nationally, the percentage decreased .03 percent, the FBI said. Yesterdays statistic includes Neighbor Island figures.
Local experts expect the final 2000 statistics to end Hawaiis four-year decline in crime, which dropped 33 percent from 1995 to 1999. In 1999, serious crime in Hawaii dropped to a record low, with all four counties recording banner or near-banner years.
"While any increase in crime is disappointing news, this is the first increase to be reported after four straight years of major decreases," said Attorney General Earl Anzai. "Compared to how much crime decreased in the earlier period, the increase isnt necessarily surprising. It became a question of how much lower one could reasonably expect the crime rate to drop."
In the report, violent crimes (murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault) accounted for 5 percent of all serious crimes, while property crime (burglary, larceny-theft and motor vehicle theft) accounted for 95 percent. The crime that recorded the largest increase in the semi-annual report was motor vehicle theft, increasing 42.4 percent (2,144 to 3,052).
In the semi-annual report, all four counties recorded increases in serious crimes, with Kauai County reporting the largest increase at 18.9 percent, followed by Maui County at 11.5 percent; the City and County of Honolulu at 10.7 percent; and Hawaii County at 0.8 percent.
Although serious crimes increased in the first half of 2000, they remained below the number reported for the first half of 1998 and below the average number reported historically, the report said.
"The increase in the first half of 2000 must be considered in the context of all the record lows set in 1999," said Paul Perrone, chief of research and statistics at the Crime Prevention and Justice Assistance Division of the attorney generals office. "The statistics for 2000 are on pace to end up below the 1998 levels and to set the third or fourth lowest annual crime rate since statewide reporting began in 1975."
Other highlights of the report:
Juvenile arrests decreased 9 percent, and adult arrests increased 4 percent.
Arrests for violent crimes were down 3 percent among juveniles and rose 13 percent among adults.
Juveniles arrested on suspicion of running away increased 11 percent, from 2,150 to 2,395.
Adults arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence decreased 12 percent from 2,530 to 2,226.
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