State of Hawaii

State crime rate
up 3.6% in 2001

Rapes increase 16.8%, but
police say that's because more
victims are reporting the crime

By Nelson Daranciang

A sharp increase in reported rapes, especially on Oahu and the Big Island, contributed to a 3.6 percent increase in overall crime in Hawaii last year, according to a report released yesterday.

Rapes statewide rose 16.8 percent from a year earlier, the state Attorney General's office reported in its "Crime in Hawaii 2001" report. Big Island police recorded 44.7 rapes per 100,000 residents last year, an increase of 25.6 percent, and Oahu had 33.2 rapes per 100,000 residents, a 21.2 percent increase, the report said.

Police officials said the rise is due to increased reporting of the crime rather than a higher incidence of rape.

"People are being encouraged by the state Child Protective Service and other agencies to report rapes. Perhaps that's a good thing," said Buck Donham, Hawaii County Police Department spokesman.

Taryn Dean, a crisis counselor with Kapiolani Medical Center's Sex Abuse Treatment Center, agreed that reporting of the crime to police has increased.

"That's pretty much been my experience," she said.

Dean said she has not seen a dramatic increase in rapes, but with the educational focus on prevention and disclosure, more victims are reporting.

In a written statement, Honolulu Police Chief Lee Donohue said the increase, "is largely due to a change in reporting procedures."

The overall statewide crime rate rose 3.6 percent in 2001, but the previous year had the second-lowest crime rate since the state started keeping statistics in 1975.

Maui showed the highest overall increase, at 8.6 percent last year, while Kauai showed the only drop among all four counties, with a 10.2 percent decrease.

"Crime is up nationwide. For whatever reason, we managed to buck that trend in 2001. However, we're up in 2002," said Kauai Police Chief George Freitas.

Violent crime in Hawaii -- which includes murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault -- rose 4.5 percent last year to 254.6 crimes per 100,000 residents.

There were 32 murders in Hawaii in 2001, three fewer than in 2000. That lowered the statewide murder rate by 10.3 percent.

Robberies rose 0.7 percent and aggravated assault went up 4.7 percent.

Property crimes -- burglary, larceny-theft and auto theft -- increased 3.6 percent last year; larceny-theft rose 2.8 percent.

In 2000, Hawaii had the second-highest property crime rate and the highest larceny-theft rate in the nation. The 2001 crime rates of the other states are not yet available for comparison.

Auto theft was the only crime index in which Kauai showed an increase, at 20 percent. The Big Island recorded the highest auto theft increase, of 25.6 percent, while Oahu had the lowest, at 6.7 percent.

Burglaries statewide increased by 3.6 percent.

State Attorney General

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