Oahu vehicle thefts dive 41%


POSTED: Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Honolulu's crime rate plunged 22 percent in the first half of 2008, according to the FBI's preliminary statistics, released yesterday.

Honolulu fared far better than the country overall, with its crime rate reflecting an overall nationwide decline.

In all categories except burglaries, which increased by 5 percent, fewer crimes were committed in Honolulu in the beginning half of 2008 than in the first half of 2007.

The slumping economy made it a bad year for car dealers, but 2008 was a bad year for car stealers as well. Auto theft took a 41 percent nose dive, with 1,192 fewer vehicles stolen in Honolulu. Thieves stole 1,701 cars in 2008, compared with 2,893 in 2007.

Nationwide, motor vehicle thefts dropped 12.6 percent, according to the FBI.

“;When you compare it to other cities the size of Honolulu, we're doing a good job,”; said Kendrick Williams, the FBI's acting special-agent-in-charge in Hawaii.

Williams attributed the drop to better collaboration between federal, local and state agencies, but stressed that “;community awareness has a role to play, as well.”;

“;Taking ownership and concern, working with law enforcement partners”; can make a difference, as can neighborhood watch activities, Williams said. “;You never know what kind of crime you're preventing — just taking notice when you hear a loud noise and turning your porch light on.”;

The Honolulu police chief was unavailable for comment yesterday.

In Honolulu, violent crime — which includes murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault — was down 7 percent, while property crime — burglary, larceny-theft and auto theft — was down 23 percent. Arson, not included in either category, dropped 14 percent.

In Honolulu, classified as a large city with its population of 905,000, there were eight murders in the first half of last year compared with 12 in the first half of 2007. There were 96 rapes in the first half of 2008 compared with 127 in the first half of 2007. There were 14 percent fewer robberies and no change in aggravated assaults.

Nationwide, violent crime fell 3.5 percent and property crime dropped 2.5 percent, according to the bureau's preliminary figures, despite an alarming spike in small-town murders.

By the numbers

Crime figures released by the FBI for the first six months of 2008 compared with the same period in 2007:


Violent crime 1,2351,340
Murder 812
Forible rape 96127
Robbery 418 488
Aggravated assault 713713
Property crime 15,10619,745
Burglary 3,0712,888
Larceny-theft 10,33413,964
Motor vehicle theft 1,7012,893
Arson 185217