Crime in Hawaii 1998 (Annual)

Hawaii’s crime rate fell 11% in 1998, down 26% in three years

August 31, 1999 —The State Attorney General’s annual Uniform Crime Report, Crime in Hawaii, shows that the state’s 1998 Index Crime rate was down 11% from 1997, 26% below the 15-year peak set three years ago, and at its second lowest point since the start of statewide crime data collection in 1975. The crime rate was lower only in 1985, and then by only about 1%. In 1998, the statewide rate for reported Index Crimes (murder, forcible rape, aggravated assault, robbery, burglary, motor vehicle theft, larceny-theft, and, tracked separately, arson) was 5,333 offenses per 100,000 residents. Attorney General Earl Anzai stated that, “The community and the criminal justice system have contributed to this reduction of crime and should be encouraged to continue their hard work to decrease crime even further.”

Other report highlights include the following:

Hawaii’s violent crime rate dropped 11% in 1998. The murder rate plunged 49% to reach its lowest point on record. The other three violent Index Crimes, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault, were down 5%, 13%, and 9% in rate, respectively.

The property crime rate also fell 11% in 1998. The burglary rate declined 12% to reach its third consecutive record low point, 47% below the rate in 1975. The larceny-theft rate decreased 10%, and the motor vehicle theft rate dropped 14%. There were almost 2,700 fewer reported burglaries in 1998 than in 1995, about 16,000 fewer larceny-thefts, and 2,600 fewer motor vehicle thefts.

The number of arrests dropped by 10% in 1998. Adult arrests were down in all categories; 6% for total Index Offenses, 9% for violent crimes, 6% for property crimes, and 9% for the less serious, Part II Offenses. Juvenile arrests fell off dramatically; 23% each for Index Offenses, violent crimes, and property crimes, and 12% for Part II Offenses.

In the City & County of Honolulu, the rate of reported Index Offenses dropped 11% in 1998. Rate decreases were recorded for all eight Index Offenses. The murder rate plummeted 51% from 1997 to reach a record low point, and the annual burglary rate declined to its third consecutive record low, now having fallen 53% since the inception of statewide crime data collection in 1975. The reported Part II Offense rate decreased by 11% in 1998 to reach its lowest point in the past 17 years—the entire period for which these data have been compiled.

Hawaii County’s Index Crime rate fell 8% in 1998. Lower rates were recorded for murder, rape, aggravated assault, burglary, and larceny-theft, while the robbery, motor vehicle theft, and arson rates increased. Hawaii County posted the second lowest crime rate in the state.

Maui County’s crime rate moved down 11% in 1998. Six of the specific offense categories showed rate decreases, while the murder and arson rates increased. The burglary rate receded 21% to post a record low, and the larceny-theft rate decreased 8% to its second lowest point on record. Among the four county police departments, and for the seventh consecutive year, Maui County Police recovered the highest percentage (32%) of property stolen in reported Index Offenses.

Kauai County’s crime rate, the lowest in the state in 1998, fell 21% to reach a record low point. The robbery and aggravated assault rates increased, while the remaining 6 Index Crime categories showed decreases. The burglary rate dove 28% to set a record low, the larceny-theft rate dropped 20% to its second lowest point on record, and the motor vehicle theft rate was marginally reduced to reach its second consecutive record low.

Of the total combined robberies, aggravated assaults, and murders reported to police in Hawaii in 1998, 65% were committed with hands and feet, 14% with “other” weapons (often blunt objects), 12% with firearms, and 9% with cutting instruments. Hands and feet were by a wide margin the most common weapons employed in all three crime types.

In 1998, 326 assaults on Hawaii’s police officers were recorded, marking a 9% decrease from 1997 and the second consecutive record low since the start of data collection in 1975.

On October 31, 1998, a total of 2,588 full-time police officers were employed by the four county police departments, a reduction of over 2% from the 2,645 officers employed on October 31, 1997.