Tuesday, December 31, 2002

State of Hawaii

Isle crime up
in first half of ’02

Auto thefts statewide increased 43%
over the same period of ’01

Associated Press

Violent crime in Hawaii was up 5.4 percent while property crimes rose 13.7 percent during the first six months of 2002, according to a report released yesterday by the state Attorney General's Office.

The overall crime rate was up 13.3 percent for the first half of the year compared with the same period a year ago, according to the report prepared by the agency's Crime Prevention and Justice Assistance Division.

Maui was the only county to report decreases in both violent and property crimes.

Paul Perrone, the division's chief of research, said that while the crime rate has increased since reaching a record low in 1999, the current figures are on par with the state's average crime rate over the past decade.

"A double-digit change in either direction, that's a pretty significant change," Perrone said. "The perspective that's important to keep in mind is that after all that, we're kind of at average levels right now. It's not like crime is skyrocketing through the roof."

Overall there were 36,528 crimes reported statewide in the first six months of 2002, up from 32,227 in the same period a year ago.

The number of violent crimes -- murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault -- increased to 1,570 from 1,490. Property crimes -- burglary, larceny-theft and motor vehicle theft -- increased to 34,958 from 30,737.

The biggest spike was in motor vehicle thefts, with 4,626 reported from January through June. That is up 43.1 percent from the same period a year ago.

Auto thefts were up 60 percent in Kauai County, 54.4 percent in Maui County and 44.8 percent in Honolulu but just 6.1 percent in Hawaii County.

"Crime is going up statewide except for Maui, and motor vehicle theft seems to be a really big problem across the state except for the Big Island," Perrone said.

Maui saw a 6.1 percent decline in violent crime and a 5.0 percent drop in property crime.

Hawaii County was the only other to see a drop in at least one category, with violent crime down 21.8 percent. Property crime on the Big Island was up 4.7 percent.

Kauai County's overall crime rate increased 39.1 percent, led by a 71.7 percent increase in violent crime -- one murder, 11 rapes and seven robberies in the first half of 2002 compared with zero in each of those categories the previous year.

In Honolulu, property crimes increased 17.3 percent while violent crime grew by 7.5 percent. The murder rate was down 27.3 percent in the state's capital, with eight such crimes reported from January through June.

Perrone said there is no single factor to which the rise in crime can be attributed.

"If you could answer that, you could essentially either solve crime or make a million dollars telling people how to do it," he said.

State of Hawaii

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