The State of Crime in Hawaii

Picture of 2 Honolulu Police cars with light on

By: T. Jeffersonian

Hawaii is more concerned about nearly every crime issue than are most Americans. Despite heightened levels of concern, reported experience with crime held steady or dropped across the board year over year. The outlier is gun violence—45 percent of Hawaiians worry about gun violence happening to them versus a 41 percent national average. Hawaii is also more concerned about the pandemic than any other state, with 80 percent worrying about it every day.  33 percent of Hawaii residents say the security of their property has been affected by the pandemic versus a U.S. percentage of 29 percent.   

Violent Crime 

Hawaii’s 2020 violent crime rate of 2.9 incidents per 1,000 people is lower than the national rate of 3.7, but it’s 16 percent higher than what the state reported last year with 2.5 incidents per 1,000 people.  Hawaii is tied with Washington for the second-lowest violent crime rate in the Pacific region, just behind Oregon at 2.8 incidents per 1,000. Violent crime is consistently lower in Hawaii than the national average, although state saw a slight rise in violent crime incidents per capita this year. 

  • Daily concern about violent crime is 4 percentage points higher in Hawaii, but both self-reported personal experience and the Federal Bureau of Investigation violent crime rate are below national averages. 
  • Aggravated assault is the most common violent crime and makes up 52 percent of all violent crime in Hawaii, compared to 68 percent nationwide. 
  • Robberies account for 28 percent of all violent crime statewide, compared to 22 percent nationally. 
  • 41 percent named gun violence their top safety concern, compared to 53 percent across the country. 
  • There were no mass shooting incidents in Hawaii in the past 2 years, and officer-involved shootings decreased from 9 in 2019 to 7 incidents in 2020. 
  • 32 percent of survey respondents use some kind of personal protection like pepper spray versus a U.S. rate of 34 percent. 
  • 60 percent say their personal safety has been affected by the pandemic—36 percent more than the rest of the United States. 
  • Experience with gun violence remained unchanged at 4 percent, which is half of the national average of 8 percent. 
  • Experience with violent crime fell 55 percent. 
Property Crime 

Property crime decreased year over year in Hawaii, but it’s the most concerning crime issue for Hawaii residents. The property crime rate in Hawaii is higher than both national and regional rates, although it dropped statewide year over year. During 2020, the property crime rate fell 1 percent, from 28.7 incidents per 1,000 to 28.4. Despite that decrease, Hawaii reports seven more property crime incidents per capita than the nationwide average.   

  • Larceny-theft is the most common property crime, making up 74 percent of all property crime incidents versus a U.S. rate at 73 percent. 
  • Package theft is the second-most-concerning crime issue (53 percent versus 42 percent nationally) in Hawaii, but fewer residents were victims of porch pirates (16 percent versus 20 percent nationally).  
  • Honolulu’s property crime rate is 30.0 incidents per 1,000—6 percent higher than the state rate and 42 percent higher than the national rate. 
  • Burglaries are less common in Hawaii, accounting for 13 percent of all property crime compared to 16 percent nationwide. 
  • 66 percent of survey respondents use some kind of measure to protect their property (national rate 62 percent) and security systems are used most often (33 percent versus 25 percent nationally). 
  • Personal experience with property crime dropped 25 percent during 2020.