HONOLULU(KHON2) — Violent and property crime are down in the state according to data released this week by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. But just how accurate is that data? Is crime really going down? KHON2 News met with the special agent in charge of FBI Honolulu to find out.
Homicide, property theft, assault, vandalism, footage and reports of criminal activity are constantly reported on the news and social media. But is crime increasing or decreasing?
According to data released by the FBI’s National Incident-Based Reporting System for 2022, violent crime as a whole (including homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assaults) is down slightly after a spike in 2021. The report also shows a slight decline in property crimes during the same time period.
All Violent Crime: homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault:
2022 — 2,876
2021 — 3,153
2020 — 2,397
All Property Crime: arson, burglary, theft, motor vehicle theft:
2022 — 30,235
2021 — 33,987
2020 — 26,216
KHON2 sat down with Steve Merrill the special agent in charge of FBI Honolulu.
“The FBI as the largest federal Law enforcement agency is collecting information from all of our partners around the country, including here in our state and Hawaii,” Merrill explained. ” And what we’re doing is collecting this information, statistics so that we can keep track of what’s going on locally and compare it to what’s going on nationally.”
KHON: “How accurate is this data?”
“That’s a good question because the information we have is only as good as what we get,” Merrill said.
And he admits there is some information missing.
Of the four law enforcement agencies in Hawaii, only three submitted information to the National Incident-Based Reporting System.
“This year. I know that the Honolulu Police Department, the Kauai Police Department, and the Maui Police Department have provided information,” he said.
Which means crime data from Hawaii Island Police is not included in this report.
“We’re still not perfect,” Merrill said. “We still need more information, and hopefully, we’ll get to the point where every agency in our state is providing that and giving us some more complete picture as to what is going on in our communities.”
According to Merrill they rely heavily on that data to help guide decision making and the allocation of resources.
The Honolulu Police Department said crime returned to pre-covid levels, which is similar to other cities in the country.
But while statistics show a dip in violent crime as a whole in 2022, there have been a number of murders and attempted murders in West Oahu, including a shooting at Waianae Boat Harbor in early September.
And taking a closer look at the statistics, the number of homicides actually went up statewide from 23 to 28 in 2022.
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And according to the HPD’s website there have been 17 homicides so far in 2023 on Oahu alone.