climbed on Maui,
fell on Kauai
During the first halfBy Gary Kubota
of 1997, Maui's increased rates
were the state's worst
WAILUKU -- It's a tale of two counties.
Maui suffered among the worst of times in violent crime for the first half of 1997, while Kauai had one of the best of times with crime decreases.
Maui County led the state in percentage increases for violent crimes and value of stolen property in the first half of 1997, according to state statistics.
Compared with the same period in 1996, aggravated assaults in Maui County were up by 51.8 percent to 85, robberies by 30.2 percent to 56, and forcible rapes by 64.7 percent to 28.
There were no murders in Maui and Kauai counties during the first half of last year.
Deputy Police Chief Thomas Phillips said he was hesitant to draw conclusions from the statistics because they cover a short time period and the numbers are relatively small.
Phillips said the crime numbers generally appear to be within the range of the annual number of crimes for those kinds of offenses over a five-year period.
He said the number of aggravated assaults were the highest in the last six years, eventually totaling 157 in 1997, compared to the previous high of 148 in 1991.
Phillips said the department will be monitoring the number of aggravated assaults to determine if the trend continues and the cause of the increase.
Maui police noted that the number of property crimes decreased by 6.4 percent to 4,163 in the first half of 1997, but the value of stolen property increased for the same period.
Phillips said the increase in the value of stolen property was related to a $1 million jewelry robbery in Kaanapali.
Maui police also led in the category of stolen property recovered, as much of the jewelry was found and seized.
Maui Police Capt. Victor Tengan, head of the Criminal Investigation Division, said a significant number of the robberies, burglaries and thefts were drug-related.
In Kauai County, the first half of 1997 showed a 10 percent decrease in violent crimes.
The decreases became greater by the end of the year. Robberies decreased by 38.5 percent to 8, assaults by 12.8 percent to 456, and forcible rape by 5 percent to 19, according to Kauai police.
"We're seeing a significant reduction in all categories," Kauai Police Chief George Freitas said.
Freitas said he doesn't know why there was a decrease, but it doesn't take many criminals to make a difference.
He said the crime numbers are so low that police have to arrest only a handful of criminals to significantly reduce the amount of crime.
Freitas said the county was having problems early last year with break-ins in vacation rentals and cars, so police officers increased street stops of people during odd hours. He said police eventually arrested four or five people in burglaries and burglary began to decrease significantly.
The Big Island, meanwhile, showed a 27.9 percent rise in violent crime and an 8.8 percent increase in property crime. Hawaii County Police Chief Wayne Carvalho described the report as "a combination of bad news and good news. The bad news is that the number of serious crimes reported on the Big Island increased. The good news is that the number of arrests for these crimes increased even more."
He said the increase may be due partly to residents being more willing to report crimes.
HPD: The communityBy Rod Ohira
is taking back its streets
Community policing has come of age.
Acting Police Chief Lee Donohue yesterday said community policing is a major reason why Honolulu experienced a decrease in violent and property crimes during the first six months of 1997.
"The community is becoming involved, taking back its streets," Donohue said.
"We have 632 Neighborhood Security Watch programs representing 45,000 homes and 143 citizen patrols," he said.
"The (crime) numbers are an indication we're making headway, and the community efforts have contributed greatly."
As Donohue spoke, Deputy Chief William Clark watched from the back of the room, smiling proudly.
In 1993, Clark was named city Manager of the Year for his pioneering efforts in community policing.
"Community policing is really a philosophy, not a program," Clark said.
"Some parts, such as neighborhood watches and citizen patrols, are more visible, but the real part is problem solving within the community."
When people care about their neighborhoods, they become part of the solution and a deterrent to crime, said Clark.
"The objective is to improve the quality of life," Clark said.
"Fear of crime is one quality-of-life issue, but others may have nothing to do with crime -- like getting a traffic light installed," he said, adding:
"Working together, we can make things happen."
According to the state attorney general's 1997 Semi-Annual Crime Summary released yesterday, Honolulu was the only county to show decreases in both violent and property crime, at 1.4 and 14.8 percent, respectively.
Forcible rape and aggravated assault were up.
There were 121 rape cases reported from January to June last year as compared with 108 during the same period in 1996, an increase of 12 percent.
Aggravated assault rose from 562 reported cases to 590.
Auto theft, meanwhile, dropped 19 percent and larceny-theft 18.2 percent.