Hawaii is a renowned tourist destination, known for its breathtaking beaches, tropical weather, and diverse cultural heritage. However, beneath the surface, there exists an alarming issue of violent crimes. According to the FBI’s latest data for 2020, Hawaii recorded a murder rate of 2.9 per 100,000 people, placing it as the seventh-lowest state in the country. Despite its relatively low ranking, the prevalence of violent crimes in Hawaii remains a cause for concern.
Digging deeper into the statistics, it’s evident that the murder rate in Hawaii varies greatly from city to city and island to island. In this article, we’ll delve into which city has earned the unfortunate distinction of being known as the murder capital of Hawaii, based on the number of homicides per capita.
Honolulu: The Murder Capital of Hawaii
Honolulu, the biggest city and capital of Hawaii, has earned the dubious distinction of being the murder capital of the state. Even though it boasts a population of more than 980,000, the city recorded 35 homicides in 2020, which makes up a whopping 85% of the total murders statewide. Shockingly, this translates to a murder rate of 3.6 per 100,000 people, which is higher than both the state and national averages.
It is concerning to note that the murder rate in Honolulu saw a drastic surge of 59% from the previous year, with 22 murders in 2019. The rise in crime can be attributed to various factors such as the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, domestic violence, gang involvement, drug trafficking, and mental health challenges. Honolulu witnessed several high-profile murder cases in 2020, including:
More Hazardous Cities in Hawaii
Although Honolulu may be known for having the highest murder rate in Hawaii, it’s important to note that other cities in the state also have safety concerns. Based on FBI data, there were six other cities in Hawaii that reported at least one murder in 2020.
- In 2020, Hilo, the largest city on the Big Island, experienced three murders, leading to a murder rate of 3.1 per 100,000 people.
- Kailua, the second-largest city on Oahu, recorded two murders in 2020, resulting in a murder rate of 1.8 per 100,000 people.
- Kahului, the largest city on Maui, had one murder in 2020, resulting in a murder rate of 1.4 per 100,000 people.
- In 2020, Kapolei, the fastest-growing city on Oahu, witnessed one murder, resulting in a murder rate of 1.3 per 100,000 people.
- Kihei, the second-largest city on Maui, reported one murder in 2020, leading to a murder rate of 1.3 per 100,000 people.
- Waipahu, the third-largest city on Oahu, saw one murder in 2020, resulting in a murder rate of 0.9 per 100,000 people.
Tips for Ensuring Your Safety During Your Hawaii Vacation
Honolulu may have higher murder rates, but it is still comparatively safer than several other major cities in the USA. According to NeighborhoodScout, Honolulu has an overall crime risk better than 42% of U.S. cities. However, safety should still be a top priority for both visitors and residents, not only in Honolulu but throughout Hawaii. Here are a few safety tips that everyone should follow:
- Avoid walking alone at night or in unfamiliar areas.
- Secure doors and windows when leaving your home or hotel room.
- Do not leave valuables or personal items unattended or visible in your car.
- Be attentive to your surroundings and report suspicious activity to the police.
- Avoid illegal activities such as drug use or gambling.
- Do not carry large sums of cash or wear expensive jewelry.
- In the face of danger, do not resist or provoke an attacker; seek help from local authorities or emergency services.
Hawaii’s beauty and diversity make it a sought-after destination for tourists and residents alike. However, like any other state, Hawaii is not immune to violence and crime that can put people’s safety at risk. Honolulu, the capital and largest city, unfortunately holds the dubious distinction of being Hawaii’s murder capital, with a high number of homicides per capita.
It’s worth noting that several other Hawaiian cities pose different levels of risk, which highlights the significance of being vigilant and adhering to safety protocols. By doing so, you can fully enjoy all the wonders Hawaii has to offer without compromising your safety and tranquility.