Rate of serious crime grows 7.5% in Hawai'i
By Brandon Masuoka
Advertiser Staff Writer
The serious crime rate in Hawai'i increased 7.5 percent last year compared with the record low rate set in 1999, according to the attorney general's Uniform Crime Report released yesterday.
Despite the increase, last year's statistics are still the state's second-lowest since the start of statewide crime data collection in 1975, said Attorney General Earl Anzai.
"While any increase in crime is undoubtedly a cause for concern, it's critical to note that were it not for the exceptionally low crime rates reached in 1999, 2000 would have been Hawai'i's banner year," Anzai said.
Serious crimes are murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft and motor vehicle theft.
Serious crimes in 2000 numbered 5,199 reported offenses per 100,000 residents for a total of 62,987 offenses. That compares with 4,835 reported offenses per 100,000 residents for a total of 57,324 offenses in 1999.
The statistics released yesterday include the first comprehensive look at crime statistics for each island, and the figures also follow Hawai'i's four-year decline in crime, which dropped 33 percent from 1995 to 1999.
As for this year, preliminary estimates show crime in Hawai'i is continuing to rise, although perhaps only marginally, said Paul Perrone, chief of research and statistics at the Crime Prevention and Justice Assistance Division of the attorney general's office.
Last year, Hawai'i's violent crime rate increased 3.8 percent with 2,954 reported during the year. The most serious violent crimes, murder and rape, decreased 21.6 percent and 4.3 percent, respectively. Increases were recorded for aggravated assault (6.2 percent) and robbery (5.7 percent).
Hawai'i's property crime rate increased 7.7 percent with 60,033 offenses. The motor vehicle theft rate skyrocketed 28.5 percent. After four consecutive record lows, the state's burglary rate climbed 10.7 percent, while the larceny-theft rate rose 4.6 percent.
"The most interesting findings seem to be the sudden and sharp increase in motor vehicle thefts, and the record low number of juvenile arrests," Perrone said. "From 1975 to 1997, the number of juvenile arrests for serious crimes hovered in the 4,000 to 6,000 range, and to see the figure approach and then fall well below the 3,000 mark over the past three years is amazing."
After several consecutive years posting the state's lowest crime rates, Kaua'i posted the largest rate increase in serious crime at 20.1 percent, followed by increases by Honolulu (7.9 percent), the Big Island (5.8) and Maui (3.5). Kaua'i also posted the largest property crime rate increase at 16.9 percent, followed by increases by Honolulu (8.1), Big Island (6.6) and Maui (3.5).
Other highlights of the report:
- Adult arrests comprised 69 percent of all serious crime arrests in 2000; juvenile arrests for serious crime accounted for 31 percent.
- 2,769 juvenile serious crime arrests were reported statewide, improving on the previous record low of 2,946 set in 1999.
- On Oct. 31, 2000, 2,788 police officers and 747 civilians were employed by the four county police departments, denoting a 2.2 percent increase in officers and a 3.5 percent decrease in civilians from the figures reported on Oct. 31, 1999.
- In 2000, 264 assaults on Hawai'i's police officers were recorded, which is a rate of 9.5 attacks per 100 police officers, marking a 3.9 percent increase from 1999 and the second lowest total since the start of data collection in 1975.