HPD chief touts major drop in violent crime, but refuses to release the data

Crime statistics obtained through inside sources paint a somewhat different picture as to what’s really happening in the community.
Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 5:19 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 14, 2023 at 11:27 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu Police Chief Joe Logan recently announced a big drop in violent crime island-wide. But when HNN Investigates asked for the numbers that HPD used to calculate that drop, a seemingly simple request, the agency refused to share the information.

And crime statistics obtained through inside sources paint a somewhat different picture as to what’s really happening in the community.

Over the past month, a series of violent crimes have made headlines on Oahu. There have been at least four murders, along with multiple robberies and assaults — and even a home invasion.

These crimes come as Logan is touting a significant drop in violent offenses.

At a meeting Sept. 6, Logan told Honolulu police commissioners that: “HPD continues to focus on violent crime, as evident by our overall crime across the seven categories is down anywhere for 14 to 40 percent — depending on the category.”

Logan didn’t clarify what seven categories he was referring to.

When HNN asked for more details, a district-by-district breakdown of numbers and an on-camera interview with Logan, HPD declined to release information that would corroborate Logan’s figures.

Instead, the department emailed this response: “The chief’s report includes a general overview of index crimes with other items of interest.”

A spokesperson then encouraged the public to use HPD crime mapping — an online tool that’s been criticized because reports of where crime is happening are often wrong.

Camron Hurt, who heads up the non-partisan government watchdog group Common Cause Hawaii, said there’s simply no reason for HPD to keep the crime statistics secret.

“When public trust in institutions is at an all-time low, it’s absolutely critical to do the things that you can do. And being transparent about crime is the bare minimum,” Hurt said.

“There’s a right to know what’s going on. And there’s even more of a right when you’re helping fund that (agency),” he added.

While HPD refused to provide any official data, police sources were able to give HNN Investigates some insight into a few of the problems plaguing certain communities.

Over the past eight months, the number of sex assaults in District 5, spanning Kalihi to Moanalua, jumped 27% compared to the same time last year — from 59 to 75.

Sources also confirmed burglaries are up 11% in District 1, from 226 to 251. That area includes Kakaako, Makiki and Punchbowl.

In District 7, or east Oahu, sources say homicides are up — from one to three.

Car break-ins are up also up: By 18% from 547 to 649.

HNN Investigates was unable to confirm statistics in other districts and sought verification on the sourced numbers. The response from the department: “We are unable confirm information that was improperly obtained from a confidential HPD document.”

Hurt called the response an “insult to our intelligence.”

“By not giving these statements and going on camera, they’re seeming as if there’s something to hide. Or something that the public needs to be suspicious of, even if that’s not the case,” Hurt said.

Meanwhile, HPD says it’s working to create a dashboard that will contain “crime stats and other information.” A spokesperson said the department hopes to have it ready by the end of September.