Hawaii is famous for its tropical climate, breathtaking beaches, and diverse cultural heritage. However, the state also faces a worrying problem of violent crimes. According to the FBI’s latest report for 2020, Hawaii had a murder rate of 2.9 per 100,000 people, making it the seventh-lowest in the country.
Exploring the variations within the statewide average, it is evident that there are significant differences among the islands and cities of Hawaii. This article delves into the statistics to identify which city has the highest number of homicides per capita, earning it the title of the murder capital of Hawaii.
The Murder Capital of Hawaii: Honolulu
Honolulu, the largest city and capital of Hawaii, has earned the title of the murder capital of the state. Shockingly, despite having a population of more than 980,000, Honolulu accounted for a massive 85% of the total murders statewide with 35 recorded murders in 2020. This equates to a murder rate of 3.6 per 100,000 people, which exceeds both the state and national averages.
It is concerning to note that the murder rate in Honolulu witnessed a significant surge of 59% from the previous year, where it recorded only 22 murders. The rise in murder cases can be attributed to various factors, including the after-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, domestic violence, gang-related activities, drug trafficking, and mental health issues. Honolulu witnessed several notable murder cases in 2020, including:
- The tragic shooting death of a police officer and two civilians by a gunman who set fire to his home and several other houses in Diamond Head on January 19.
- The chilling stabbing death of a woman by her husband, who subsequently jumped off a freeway overpass on February 18.
- The unfortunate shooting death of a man by his neighbor, who then took his own life on March 29.
- The brutal beating death of a homeless man by four suspects who were arrested on May 16.
- The heart-wrenching shooting death of a woman by her ex-boyfriend, who then took his own life on July 28.
Other Dangerous Cities in Hawaii
Honolulu may not be the only city in Hawaii with safety concerns, despite having the highest murder rate. Based on FBI data, other cities in Hawaii reported at least one murder in 2020, numbering six in total.
- Hilo: The largest city on the Big Island saw three murders in 2020, resulting in 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.
- Kapolei: The fastest-growing city on Oahu experienced one murder in 2020, resulting in a murder rate of 1.3 per 100,000 people.
- Kihei: The second-largest city on Maui reported one murder in 2020, resulting in 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.
How to Stay Safe in Hawaii
Honolulu may have higher murder rates compared to some other cities, but it is still considered relatively safe overall. According to NeighborhoodScout, it ranks better than 42% of US cities for overall crime risk. Nonetheless, it’s crucial for both residents and visitors to stay alert and follow safety precautions throughout Hawaii, including Honolulu. To ensure your safety, here are some essential safety tips to keep in mind.
- 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.
Every year, Hawaii attracts a significant number of tourists and residents, thanks to its stunning natural beauty and cultural diversity. However, the state has its fair share of security challenges, with violence and crime posing a significant threat to safety. Sadly, Honolulu, the state capital and largest city, is known as the murder capital of Hawaii due to its high per capita murder rate.
It’s crucial to exercise caution and adhere to safety guidelines when visiting other cities in Hawaii, as each location poses a different level of risk. However, by taking these necessary precautions, you can fully enjoy all that Hawaii has to offer without sacrificing your safety or peace of mind.
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