Friday, January 25, 2002

Crime up in first
half of 2001

Property crime rose statewide but
Kauai saw a big decrease in violent crime

Star-Bulletin staff

Crime in Hawaii increased during the first half of last year, with property crime leading the way, according to statistics compiled by the state Attorney General's Office.

Overall crime increased by 4.8 percent, according to the attorney general's semiannual Uniform Crime Report.

"That's not a substantial increase -- crime has been pretty low, quite low for the last several years," said Honolulu police Detective Letha DeCaires.

Property crime -- burglary, larceny-theft and motor vehicle theft -- went up 5.1 percent with all three categories showing increases.

DeCaires said programs targeting specific crimes and people actively involved in property crime are effective, but police have no control over the courts and prison system.

"Criminals that we know to be active are back on the streets. Property crime is generally viewed as less menacing to the public, and as a result, the criminals spend less time in prison," she said.

She added that property crime causes more damage than people know. "Prices go up. Insurance goes up. It costs our community millions of dollars."

The value of property stolen in Hawaii in the first half of last year was $30.2 million, an 11.7 percent increase over the same period in 2000, according to the report.

"I think we should be paying a whole lot more attention to property crime," DeCaires said.

Meanwhile, the number of violent crimes in Hawaii decreased slightly, 0.1 percent, in the first six months of 2001 compared with the same period the previous year, the reports states.

The number of murders decreased by 6.3 percent, and the number of aggravated assaults dropped by 3.3 percent. However, the number of forcible rapes rose by 9.9 percent, and robberies went up by 1.3 percent.

The City and County of Hono-lulu, Hawaii County and Maui County all experienced increases in both violent and property crimes. Maui County posted the highest increases in total crimes (16.1 percent), violent crimes (12.1 percent) and property crimes (16.3 percent).

In Kauai County, violent crimes fell by 44.6 percent and property crimes dropped by 17.9 percent for an overall decrease of 19.7 percent.

Juvenile and adult arrests decreased for both violent and property crimes.

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