Violent crime rises in Hawaii
FBI data also shows less property crime for the first half of '06
Violent crimes in Honolulu -- including rape, robbery and aggravated assault -- increased in the first six months of 2006 compared with the same period last year, and the city was ahead of national trends in some major crime categories, according to FBI statistics.
Violent crimes in Honolulu rose 9.8 percent compared with 3.7 percent nationally, the first national increase since 2001.
But Honolulu experienced significant decreases in property crimes, with a 14.4 percent drop in burglaries and 11.9 percent drop in larceny/theft categories.
Another bit of good news was the murder rate. There was one fewer death in the first half of 2006, from six a year earlier.
"We're lucky in Honolulu, lucky to live in Hawaii," said Special-Agent-in-Charge Charles Goodwin of the FBI's Hawaii office. "Our murder rate is very low."
The FBI released data yesterday for the first half of the year in various cities across the country.
Robberies in Honolulu jumped to 455 from 384, and rapes rose to 106 from 102.
"The good news is our property crimes are down," Goodwin said. "I think we're making progress in the methamphetamine problem."
Honolulu property crimes fell to 18,336 from 20,341, and the numbers "reflect some success in the war on drugs," Goodwin said.
"We have to make smarter and better use of resources, and that means partnering with other agencies," Goodwin said.
The early data shows that nationwide:
» Murders rose by 1.4 percent, felony assaults by 1.2 percent and robberies by 9.7 percent in 2006. The number of rapes decreased by less than 0.1 percent.
» Burglaries increased by 1.2 percent. But car thefts dropped by 2.3 percent, and other stealing incidents by 3.8 percent.
» Arsons rose by 6.8 percent.
The FBI's twice-yearly report comes as the Justice Department studies 18 cities and suburban regions for clues on why the national violent crime rate is increasing. Justice researchers have not yet visited all of the cities, and it is not clear whether the government will make more federal funding available to the worst hit.
The Bush administration has asked for $1.2 billion in crime-fighting grants and assistance programs this year.
Justice spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said the department is encouraged by a 2.6 percent drop in property crimes -- such as auto theft and other larcenies -- as outlined in the FBI report. But "we are again concerned about the increase in violent crime in some cities and towns," he said.
The data is based on crime reports from 11,535 police and other law enforcement agencies nationwide. The total number of actual crimes reported was not immediately available.
Star-Bulletin reporter Leila Fujimori and the Associated Press contributed to this report.