FBI stats show isle murders increased by 11
While the nation's murder rate dropped for the first time in four years in 2004, Hawaii bucked the national trend with a 48 percent increase.
Based on the FBI's 2004 Uniform Crime Report released yesterday, the state's murder rate increased to 2.6 murders per 100,000 people from 1.8 per 100,000 in 2003 -- 33 murders were committed in Hawaii in 2004, and 22 a year earlier.
Paul Perrone, chief of research and statistics with the Department of the Attorney General, said the report does not offer a clear picture of the murder rate and other crimes that occurred in the state because it does not include figures from Hawaii County for 2004.
Of the murder rate in Hawaii, Perrone said its figures should not be compared year to year because the state traditionally has the lowest murder rate in the nation.
According to Perrone, the murder rate in 2003 was 1.7 murders per 100,000 people, the lowest recorded murder rate in Hawaii since 1956.
"Murder is one of the offenses that we have particularly few of perennially," he added, noting that murders tend to be isolated incidents in Hawaii.
"We don't see gang wars and rashes of serial killers," Perrone said.
Nationally, there were 391 fewer murders in 2004 than the year before. The total of 16,137 worked out to 5.5 murders for every 100,000 people.
That is a decline of 3.3 percent from 2003 and the lowest murder rate since 1965, when it was 5.1.
Overall, major violent crimes in Hawaii -- including murder, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault -- dropped 6.6 percent, from 272.3 per 100,000 people in 2003 to 254.4 in 2004. Washington, D.C., ranked the highest in the nation in its overall violent crime rate per 100,000 people at 1,371.2, while North Dakota ranked the lowest at 79.4.
A substantial decrease in the robbery rate was reported at 20.1 percent, dropping to 74.8 per 100,000 people from 93.5. The rate for forcible rape fell 10.3 percent, dropping to 26.4 per 100,000 people from 29.4, while aggravated assault experienced an increase of 2.1 percent, increasing to 150.7 per 100,000 people from 147.6.
Property crimes -- including burglary, larceny theft and motor vehicle theft -- fell 9.1 percent, dropping to 4,792.8 per 100,000 people from 5,274.6.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.