Crime in Hawaii 1999 (Annual)

Crime in Hawaii fell 9.5% in 1999 to set record low

December 28, 2000 — The Attorney General’s annual Uniform Crime Report, Crime in Hawaii, shows that the state’s 1999 Index Crime rate was down 9.5% from 1998, 33.2% below the 15-year peak set in 1995, and at its lowest point since the start of statewide crime data collection in 1975. In 1999, the statewide rate for reported Index Crimes (murder, forcible rape, aggravated assault, robbery, burglary, motor vehicle theft, larceny-theft, and, tracked separately, arson) was 4,835 offenses per 100,000 residents. Attorney General Earl Anzai remarked, “While there is never a single, clear explanation for fluctuations in the crime rate, efforts made in the criminal justice system and especially in the community should be applauded.”

Other report highlights include the following:

Hawaii’s violent crime rate dropped 5% in 1999. The robbery rate fell 15%, and the aggravated assault rate was essentially unchanged. The forcible rape rate edged up 1%. The murder rate rose 85%, due mainly to a streak of offenses in the fall (including the Byron Uyesugi case) and compounded by a record low number of offenses in 1998.

The property crime rate fell 10% in 1999 to set a record low. The burglary rate declined 15% to reach its fourth consecutive record low point, now 55% below the rate in 1975. The larceny-theft rate decreased 7.5%, reaching its second lowest level since 1975, and the motor vehicle theft rate fell 16%. There were 4,400 fewer reported burglaries in 1999 than in 1995, 19,400 fewer larceny-thefts, and 3,500 fewer motor vehicle thefts.

The number of Index Crime arrests fell 16% in 1999. Arrests for violent and property offenses fell 6% and 18%, respectively.

Adult arrests for Index Crimes plunged 18% in 1999, while juvenile arrests fell 11% to reach a record low number since the start of statewide data collection. The number of juvenile arrests hovered in the 4,000-6,000 range between 1975 and 1997, but in 1998 the figure was 3,311 and in 1999 the total dropped to 2,946.

Hawaii County led the state in 1999 with a 14% decrease in the Index Crime rate. Hawaii County’s crime rate reached its lowest point in the 25 years that statewide data have been collected. Rate decreases were reported for 5 of the 8 Index Crimes. Hawaii County’s Index Crime rate in 1999 was 4,084 reported offenses per 100,000 residents.

The crime rate in the City and County of Honolulu decreased 9% in 1999, also reaching its lowest point on record. Rate decreases were reported for 6 of the 8 Index Crime categories. The City & County of Honolulu’s Index Crime rate in 1999 was 4,936 reported offenses per 100,000 residents.

In Kauai County, the Index Crime rate decreased 9% in 1999 to set a record low. Rate decreases were recorded for 5 of the 8 Index Crime categories; each of these also posted an individual record low rate. Kauai County’s 1999 Index Crime rate, 3,672 reported offenses per 100,000 residents, was the lowest in the state.

The Index Crime rate in Maui County decreased 6.5% in 1999, marking its second lowest point on record and the lowest rate since 1976. Rate decreases were reported for 7 of the 8 Index Offenses. Maui County’s 1999 Index Crime rate, 5,537 reported offenses per 100,000 residents, was the highest in the state.

Of the 2,431 total murders, robberies, and aggravated assaults reported to the police in Hawaii in 1999, 65% were committed with hands and feet, 15% with “other” weapons (often blunt objects), 11% with firearms, and 10% with edged weapons.

In 1999, 254 assaults on Hawaii’s police officers were recorded, marking the third consecutive record low since the start of statewide data collection in 1975.

On October 31, 1999, a total of 2,727 police officers and 722 civilians were employed by the four county police departments, a 5% increase in officers and a 7% decrease in civilians from the figures reported on October 31, 1998.

“Crime in Hawaii has decreased to such unprecedented low levels during the last four years that it has to bottom out sooner or later,” observed Paul Perrone, Chief of Research and Statistics and director of the state Uniform Crime Reporting Program. “As so many record lows were set in 1999, it may prove to be the leveling-off point,” he said.

Statewide data for the first half of 2000 will be released next month and are expected to show numbers that are higher than the figures for the same period in 1999, but lower than the 1998 statistics.