Honolulu crime rate fell in 2005
A 27 percent drop in auto thefts led overall declines in property and violent incidents
Crime dropped across the board in Honolulu, according to the FBI's Uniform Crime Report for the first six months of 2005.
From January to June, auto thefts had the largest decrease, dropping about 27 percent compared with the first half of 2004. Property crimes decreased about 11 percent, while violent crimes fell 6 percent.
"We're very happy," said Honolulu police spokesman Frank Fujii. "I think revitalizing our neighborhood watch and other community-based programs are showing dividends."
Fujii also said that by working with the city prosecutor's office, police drastically reduced the number of auto thefts by targeting trouble areas such as Pearl City.
Under an agreement with prosecutors, people arrested for auto theft in Pearl City are charged immediately, instead of being released pending an investigation and potentially stealing more cars as they await their court hearing.
"That's a real problem, and this is a way to address that revolving door which has contributed to our excessively high property-crime rate in the past," said city Prosecutor Peter Carlisle. "Also, what's happening is our police department is doing a good job not just targeting the offense, but the right offenders.
"If you incarcerate the offenders who are on a crime spree, and/or repeat offenders, you inevitably drive down the crime rate."
The 6 percent decrease in violent crimes came to 1,185 rapes, robberies and assaults in the first half of 2005, from 1,263 incidents for the same period of 2004.
FBI officials said the local statistics reflect a national decline in most violent and property crimes.
Nationwide, the murder rate went up 2.1 percent and robbery increased 0.6 percent, but rapes decreased by 4.7 percent and assault was down by 0.7 percent. Property crime decreased overall, with thefts down 3.5 percent, auto thefts down by 2.1 percent and burglaries down by 1.1 percent.
But reports of arson, which dropped 5.6 percent nationwide, increased on Oahu by 13 percent. FBI statistics show 237 deliberately set fires in the first half of 2005, up from 208 in the same period of 2004. Most arson cases last year involved brush fires along the Leeward coast.
"As the 2005 violent crime statistics show, Honolulu is a safe city, relative to its size," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Charles Goodwin. "And the FBI continues to work with local law enforcement to make Honolulu even safer."