HONOLULU (KHON2) — Honolulu police have opened five attempted murder investigations this week, four of which involved firearms with no suspects arrested.
Data shows gun violence hasn’t increased on the islands, but it is becoming a bigger concern.
According to the Honolulu Police Department, five people have been shot in as many days in Honolulu.
Early Saturday Oct. 21, Honolulu police said two juveniles were shot outside their apartment building, later that same evening, HPD said an apparent road rage incident in Nuuanu led to one of the drivers being shot. On Wednesday, Oct. 25, there were two shootings in town.
According to police, the victims were taken to the hospital, and attempted murder investigations are underway.
“Anytime we see more activity like this, it’s a real, real concern,” explained Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm. “The murder rate actually is, right now it’s on track, or it’s a little bit lower than last year.”
According to HPD’s crime dashboard, there were 20 murder and non-negligent manslaughter cases in 2022. As of September 30, there have been 17. The majority of violent crimes took place in West Oahu and many involved teens.
Alm had this message for 16 and 17 year olds:
“If you murder somebody, you are in all likelihood, your case is going to be transferred from juvenile court, where it’s secret and confidential, to adult court, where it’s open to the public and the press, and you’re going to be tried for murder and if you get convicted, it’s life in prison.”
Hawaii has some of the lowest gun violence rates in the country and the strictest laws.
Sen. Chris Lee (D) Kailua, Waimanalo, Hawaii Kai, has been working on gun legislation for years.
“We cant stop every incident from someone who wants to do something terrible, but by making it harder to get guns in the wrong hands we can definitely stop a lot of these incidents and it’s been proven successful in lots of states,” Sen. Lee explained.
The gun violence and violent crimes commission was started in 2020 and fell under the Hawaii Attorney General’s office. The hope was for all law enforcement agencies to submit findings and stats to prevent gun violence in the future.
But there hasn’t been much data from the program and without data Lee said it’s hard to allocate financial resources.
He said on the mainland, the type of data he’d like to get was used to track down a firearms dealer in Chicago.
“Being able to track the incidents of the firearms moving around crime to crime or person to person led officials to find a gun shop that was letting guns illegally be sold out the backdoor,” he explained.
According to a Gun Violence and Violent Crimes Commission report, the AGs office received reports from county police chiefs identifying what data was available from police record management systems (RMS) related to gun violence and the use of firearms in the commission of a crime.
The report said the police chiefs provided 2020-2021 statistics on what data was available in their respective police data systems related to gun violence.
The report found that the four county police departments currently do not collect all the relevant data, and retrieving some data requires manually researching individual reports. Each department would need to update its RMS to attempt to standardize and collect all relevant data. It is necessary for the GVVCC to determine what data needs to be collected and included in all of the systems.
The records showed from the Hawaii Police Department that 130 firearms were recovered, and of those, 46 firearms were registered and 84 were not. Five of the recovered firearms were registered to a suspect.
The report from the Honolulu Police Department stated 759 firearms recovered and that all other data is not tracked.
The Kauai Police Department was unable to provide specific data, and the Maui Police Department said there were 98 incidents involving firearms, 199 firearms were recovered.
Alm said most violent crimes involving guns are not registered guns being used by its owner.
Alm said it’s also the responsibility of parents to keep an eye on their teens and reminds people who use firearms to commit crimes.
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“If you’re a felon, if you’re caught with a weapon or you’re caught with ammunition, you will get charged with another felony,” Alm continued. “If people misuse and use guns in crimes, we will prosecute you and that’s a separate offense using a firearm in the commission of a felony and you’ll get charged then you will be going to prison.”