Last week, President Donald Trump trashed an old Obama Administration rule that prevented the U.S. military from giving surplus weapons and equipment to local law enforcement agencies. His stated reason was based on rising crime rates or a “war on cops” or some other such nonsense. In fact, crime rates have been falling for years all over the U.S.
In fact, the Hawaii Attorney General’s office released new statistics yesterday that show most crime rates plummeted in Hawaii in 2016. Taken as a whole, the 2016 Crime in Hawaii report is largely filled with good news, both for the state as a whole and Maui County itself.
“The report shows that in Calendar Year 2016, a total of 45,805 Index Crimes were reported in the State of Hawaii, yielding a rate of 3,206 offenses per 100,000 resident population, the lowest on record since statewide data collection began in 1975,” states an Aug. 31 news release from the AG’s office. “Hawaii’s Index Crime rate in 2016 was 6.2% below the rate reported in 2015, and 27.1% below the rate reported a decade earlier (2007).”
Here’s what the new 2016 report states about Maui County:
From 2015 to 2016, the total number of Index Crimes reported in Maui County decreased 5.7%, violent crimes decreased 19.2%, and property crimes decreased 4.4%. The number of reported crimes decreased in 2016 for five Index Crime categories: rape, 18.1%; robbery, 39.8%; aggravated assault, 13.3%; burglary, 2.9%; and larceny-theft, 8.4%.
Indeed, the report says 2016 was a record-breaking year across the state. Maui County itself posted record lows in the following stats: total Index Crime rate, property crime rate, burglary rate and larceny-theft rate (click here for our Dec. 5, 2016 story on 2015 Maui County crime rate stats).
This is indeed good news. But not all crimes decreased, either in the state or county last year. Murders, for instance, went up across Hawaii.
“Thirty-five murders were reported statewide in 2016, marking a 20.7% increase compared to the prior year,” stated the Aug. 31 news release. “Males comprised 91% of the alleged murder offenders and 66% of the victims in 2016. Roughly two-thirds (68.6%) of the murder victims knew the offenders, and firearms were used in about half (51.4%) of the murders.”
The report also states that while no police officers were killed in the line of duty in 2016, “373 officers were assaulted, yielding a rate of 12.5 assaults per 100 officers.” The method of assault in the vast majority (91.7%) of those cases was “strongarm” physical force, according to the report.
In Maui County, incidences of murder and two other crimes also increased in 2016. “The number of reported crimes increased for three Index Crime categories: murder, 25.0%; motor vehicle theft, 23.2%; and arson, 38.9%,” states the report. “No human trafficking offenses were reported for either year.”
Before we start hyperventilating about an escalating murder rate in Maui County, let’s look at the raw numbers. According to the report, there were just five reported murder arrests in Maui County in 2016 (2015 had four). As for the other crimes, there were 717 motor vehicle theft arrests in 2016, compared to 582 in 2015. And 150 arson arrests in 2016, compared to 108 in 2015.
On the whole, it’s hard to reconcile any of these statistics with the violent, crime-ridden dystopian images Trump uses to justify his authoritarianism.
“The record low crime statistics in 2016 highlight the outstanding work of law enforcement throughout the State and in all four counties,” AG Doug Chin said in an Aug. 31 news release. “These numbers also help refute the false narrative from President Trump’s administration that crime in our country is at an all-time high.”
Click here to read the 2016 Crime in Hawaii report.
Image: 2016 Crime in Hawaii report