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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 11:18 a.m., Monday, September 9, 2002

Report shows slight rise in crime rate

By Rod Ohira
Advertiser Staff Writer

The soon-to-be-released "2001 Crime in Hawai'i" report will show a slight increase in Hawai'i's crime rate, the state attorney general's chief statistical researcher said today.

Statistician Paul Perone declined to provide specifics because the report is due out in two weeks but he did note, "We're coming up from a record low in 1999. In 2000, we edged up slightly and there will be a slight increase in 2001. From a historical perspective, it's still low for us."

The Associated Press yesterday released 2001 National Crime Victimization Survey figures compiled by the FBI that indicate violent crimes in the United States fell by 9 percent, sending the national crime rate to its lowest level since it was first tracked in 1973.

The NCVS figures are based on FBI interviews with crime victims. It is one of two annual reports on crime rates compiled by the FBI for the U.S. Department of Justice.

The "2001 Crime in Hawai'i" numbers, however, are compiled into the more comprehensive and current "Crime in the U.S." report that comes out annually in October. The local and national figures are based on reported offenses to police and arrest data.

"There's no perfect way to measure the extent of crime," Perone said. "The victimization surveys are based on interview samples. The down side is the survey presents a 'telescoping' effect since victims surveyed may have reported crimes prior to the time the report covers."

The downside to the uniform crime reporting process, meanwhile, is that not all criminal activities are reported, Perone said. Victimization figures tend to present a high-end number for the crime rate while uniform crime reporting the low end.

"From a standpoint of reliability, uniform crime reporting is more consistent," added Perone, who said data from both reports are studied.