Finally, Hawaii police departments catch up with crime reporting - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Finally, Hawaii police departments catch up with crime reporting

(Image: Hawaii News Now/File) (Image: Hawaii News Now/File)
(Image: Hawaii News Now) (Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now) (Image: Hawaii News Now)
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

When the FBI released state-by-state crime statistics earlier this week, Hawaii won a small victory: The Aloha State's numbers were actually included.

After years of lagging behind other states, Hawaii police departments are finally reporting crime data to the FBI on time.

Since the 1930s, the Uniformed Crime Reporting system has tracked everything from murders to car break-ins for every state in the country.

And for years, Hawaii's figures haven't always been available.

Citing staffing issues, the Honolulu Police Department was several years behind in their required reporting. And the Kauai Police Department was also late because of computer issues.

Maui and Hawaii County would sometimes need brief extensions, but did complete their reporting.

The new Hawaii crime figures show that property crimes are way up in the islands, while there was a slight uptick in violent crimes from 2014.

Statewide, there were 54,346 property crimes in 2015, up 17 percent from the year before. The increase was driven by thefts, which saw a 26 percent increase over the period. 

Meanwhile, there were 4,201 violent crimes statewide in 2015, the figures show, up from 3,362 the year before.

In Honolulu, property crime went up by about 1 percent, to 31,085 crimes. There were 2,437 violent crimes last year, meanwhile, an increase of 7 percent from the year before.

The numbers are vital for understanding crime trends and broader social problems, officials say.

"Crime and justice is something that is important to all of us," said Paul Perrone, chief of research for the state Attorney General's Office. "Everybody and their brother uses this data for something or another."

The UCR system provides a peek into crime in every state, in an easy-to-understand way. 

"It compares apples to apples," he said.

University of Hawaii Women's Studies Professor Meda Chesney-Lind has been a vocal critic of Hawaii's inability to report the UCR data, and applauded the state's inclusion this year.

"We had a void of about five years where we didn't know," she said. "Hawaii residents and visitors should have access to these numbers.

"Sometimes, it feels like the crime rate is going out of control like things are getting worse and worse, with these numbers we can say to people, take a deep breath it's actually better than a decade ago."

Police departments are supposed to submit the information to the state Attorney General's office. Perrone then sends it to the federal government.

"The bottom line is, when you add it all up and say, 'Is crime up or down?' it's something that everybody wants to know," Perrone said.

Going forward, a new law requires the four counties to meet the FBI's next crime reporting deadline, which will be March 2017. The good news: Perrone says the four counties have told him they'll be reporting on time.

FBI CRIME STATISTICS
Crime rate per 100,000 people (ranked by property crime):
State Violent Crime Property Crime
HAWAII 293.4 (31st in the nation) 3,796.2 (highest in the nation)
NEW MEXICO 656.1 3,697.4
WASHINGTON 284.4 3,463.8
LOUISIANA 539.7 3,353.4
SOUTH CAROLINA 504.5 3,293.3
ARKANSAS 521.3 3,251.5
ARIZONA 410.2 3,033.2
GEORGIA 378.3 3,022.3
UTAH 236.0 2,980.0
ALABAMA 472.4 2,978.9
OREGON 259.8 2,946.6
TENNESSEE 612.1 2,936.2
OKLAHOMA 422.0 2,885.9
MISSOURI 497.4 2,854.2
MISSISSIPPI 275.8 2,833.6
TEXAS 412.2 2,831.3
ALASKA 730.2 2,817.6
FLORIDA 461.9 2,813.2
NORTH CAROLINA 347.0 2,750.1
KANSAS 389.9 2,720.1
DELAWARE 499.0 2,691.0
NEVADA 695.9 2,668.3
COLORADO 321.0 2,641.5
MONTANA 349.6 2,623.6
CALIFORNIA 426.3 2,618.3
INDIANA 387.5 2,596.0
OHIO 291.9 2,587.7
MARYLAND 457.2 2,315.0
NEBRASKA 274.9 2,241.1
MINNESOTA 242.6 2,222.1
KENTUCKY 218.7 2,177.6
NORTH DAKOTA 239.4 2,116.5
IOWA 286.1 2,047.3
WEST VIRGINIA 337.9 2,020.0
ILLINOIS 383.8 1,988.6
WISCONSIN 305.8 1,974.0
SOUTH DAKOTA 383.1 1,943.0
WYOMING 222.1 1,902.6
RHODE ISLAND 242.5 1,897.5
MICHIGAN 415.5 1,885.6
VIRGINIA 195.6 1,866.5
MAINE 130.1 1,830.0
PENNSYLVANIA 315.1 1,812.8
CONNECTICUT 218.5 1,812.0
NEW HAMPSHIRE 199.3 1,745.7
IDAHO 215.6 1,743.8
MASSACHUSETTS 390.9 1,690.7
NEW JERSEY 255.4 1,626.5
NEW YORK 379.7 1,604.0
VERMONT 118.0 1,406.6
Source: FBI

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