Most Dangerous Cities in Hawaii: A Comprehensive Analysis

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Hawaii is often perceived as an idyllic paradise, with its breathtaking landscapes, friendly residents, and rich cultural heritage. However, like any other place in the world, it has its share of dangerous cities where crime rates are higher than the state average. In this article, we will explore some of the most dangerous cities in Hawaii that might give both residents and visitors a reason to exercise caution, especially after dark.

Waipahu, located on the island of Oahu, is considered the most dangerous city in Hawaii. With a crime rate of 3,709 crimes per 100,000 residents, it is 44% higher than the national average, and the chances of being a victim of a crime stand at 1-in-27. Wahiawa, also on Oahu, is another city to avoid after dark as it ranks 10th in terms of crime in Hawaii. Drug use in Wahiawa is known to be rampant, with total crimes being 20% higher than the state as a whole.

Among other crime-ridden towns in Hawaii are Fern Forest and Eden Roc, located on the Big Island. Both have relatively small populations but face significant crime issues, with Fern Forest being one of the poorest cities in the state. These cities, along with others on the list, serve as a reminder that even the most picturesque destinations can have their darker sides.

Overview of Crime in Hawaii

Hawaii is generally considered a safe destination for both residents and tourists. However, like any other place, it has some areas with higher crime rates. In this section, we will discuss the most dangerous cities in Hawaii, based on available crime statistics.

Waipahu is currently the most dangerous city in Hawaii, with a crime rate of 3,709 crimes per 100,000 residents. This statistic is 44% greater than the national average, making the chances of being a victim of a crime 1-in-27.

Another dangerous city in Hawaii is Fern Forest, located in Puna. Despite having a small population of only 1,050 people, it is one of the poorest and most crime-ridden cities in the state.

Hawaii’s overall crime rate, including both property and violent crimes, was 3,130 offenses per 100,000 residents in 2019. This rate is slightly lower than the national average and indicates a relatively safe environment across most of the state.

While violent crime rates have significantly decreased during the last decade, property crime remains a concern in some areas. The decrease in crime rates can be partially attributed to the efforts of the Crime Prevention and Justice Assistance Division and local law enforcement agencies.

It is important for residents and visitors to be aware of these crime statistics and take necessary precautions to ensure their safety. By staying informed and practicing safety measures, individuals can minimize their risk of becoming victims of crime in Hawaii.

Most Dangerous Cities In Hawaii

Hawaii may be known for its stunning beaches and lush landscapes, but like any other state, it also has its less safe areas. In this section, we will discuss the dangers associated with three cities in Hawaii: Honolulu, Hilo, and Kailua.


As the capital and largest city of Hawaii, Honolulu experiences a fairly high crime rate. As per the search results, crimes occur every 5 minutes on average in Hawaii. This statistic implies that Honolulu might have a higher crime rate because of its urban and populated nature.

One area to exercise caution in is Waipahu, which has a crime rate of 3,709 crimes per 100,000 residents. This rate is 44% greater than the national average, and the chances of being a victim of a crime are 1-in-27.


Hilo, located on the Big Island, is another city with a higher than average crime rate. Fern Forest, a small town near Hilo, is particularly dangerous due to its poverty and crime rate. With a population of only 1,050 people, it is essential to be vigilant while visiting or living in this area.


Kailua, found on the island of Oahu, is another city in Hawaii where crime rates are worth considering. Kapaa, a town within the Kailua area, has a 1 in 28 chance of being the victim of a crime, which is 3% higher than the average rate in Hawaii.

While visiting or residing in any of these cities, it is essential to be aware of your surroundings and take necessary precautions to ensure your safety.

Factors Contributing to Crime Rates

Hawaii, known for its beautiful landscapes and pristine beaches, also has some regions with higher crime rates. Several factors contribute to these crime rates in the most dangerous cities. These factors include issues such as poverty, lack of education, and drug addiction.

Poverty has a strong correlation with crime. In cities with higher percentages of impoverished residents, criminal activities become more prevalent. This can be seen in Hilo as it has staggering crime rates 70% higher than the national average. The city has a population of around 45,600, and the chances of becoming a victim in Hilo are 1-in-23 (Travel Safe, 2023).

Education is another factor that affects crime rates. In areas where residents lack access to quality education, there is a higher likelihood of individuals turning to illegal means to support themselves. Low educational attainment often results in limited job opportunities and lower income levels, contributing to the cycle of poverty and crime.

Drug addiction also plays a significant role in increased crime rates. The widespread use and abuse of drugs such as methamphetamine, heroin, and prescription painkillers have been driving the crime rates up. A high drug addiction rate fuels property crimes, including theft and burglary, as addicts are often desperate to find ways to obtain drugs or funds to buy them.

In 2019, specific types of crime increased in the State of Hawaii, such as murder by 0.3%, robbery by 13.7%, and aggravated assault by 4.5% (Crime Prevention and Justice Assistance Division - Hawaii). These numbers demonstrate how the above-mentioned factors can contribute to the overall crime rates in some of Hawaii’s most dangerous cities.

It is crucial to address these contributing factors in order to improve safety and reduce crime rates in Hawaii. By tackling poverty, improving educational opportunities, and addressing drug addiction, it is possible to create a safer environment for both residents and tourists alike.

Comparing Hawaii to Other US States

Hawaii shows promising statistics in terms of safety when compared to other US states. The violent crime rate in Hawaii is 16.3, which is significantly lower than the US average of 22.7. Furthermore, property crime in Hawaii is also slightly lower than the nation’s average, with a rate of 41.4 compared to 35.4 for the US as a whole.

The state of Hawaii ranks in the 25th percentile for safety, meaning that 75% of the other states are considered safer, while 25% are more dangerous. It is worth noting that this analysis only pertains to Hawaii’s proper boundaries when considering crime rates.

In terms of year-over-year decline in violent crime, Hawaii reported an 11.5% reduction from 2019 to 2020, making it one of the few states to experience a drop in violent crime numbers during that period. The state’s violent crime rate of 2.5 incidents per 1,000 people is lower than the national rate of 4.0, further emphasizing its favorable safety ranking.

Some of the most dangerous cities in Hawaii include:

  • Waipahu: With a crime rate of 3,709 crimes per 100,000 residents, this city holds the title for the most dangerous in the state. The chances of being a victim of a crime here are 1 in 27, making it 44% greater than the national average.

In conclusion, when analyzing Hawaii’s crime rates and its relation to other US states, it is evident that the state fares relatively well in terms of safety. Residents and visitors can be confident in the island’s ability to maintain a neutral and clear overview of its crime statistics.

Advice for Travelers and Residents

Hawaii is known for its stunning beaches, lush landscapes, and friendly atmosphere. However, as with any destination, some areas can be more dangerous than others. In this section, we will provide some practical advice for both travelers and residents to minimize risks and ensure a safe and enjoyable experience in Hawaii.

Awareness of surroundings: When visiting or living in Hawaii, it is essential to be aware of your surroundings. Specifically, in areas known for higher crime rates, such as Waipahu, with a crime rate of 3,709 crimes per 100,000 residents. Be cautious in unfamiliar areas, avoid poorly lit streets, and stay vigilant, especially after dark.

Travel during daylight hours: It is wise to plan your activities during daylight hours and avoid venturing out late at night in unfamiliar locations. This minimizes the chances of encountering potentially unsafe situations.

Secure your belongings: Petty theft can be a concern in some parts of Hawaii. Protect your belongings by locking your doors and windows, not leaving valuables unattended, and utilizing hotel safes when available.

Stay informed: Check news sources and visitor information centers for updates on any potential safety hazards, such as natural disasters, seismic activity, or closures due to high surf or other factors. Being informed about any possible threats can help you make informed decisions about your travel plans and activities.

Respect local customs and practices: Following local customs and practices is not only respectful, but it can also contribute to your safety in Hawaii. For instance, adhere to posted signs and warnings, observe water safety guidelines, and respect the environment by not touching or disturbing wildlife or cultural sites.

By keeping these tips in mind, both travelers and residents can enjoy the beauty and uniqueness of Hawaii while minimizing potential risks.

Efforts to Improve Safety in Hawaii

Hawaii has been working to address the issue of crime and increase safety in its cities. Various initiatives have been put in place to tackle crime and improve the overall quality of life for residents.

One such effort is the collaboration between law enforcement agencies and community organizations. Partnering together, they have focused on targeted policing and crime prevention strategies, which have had a significant impact on crime rates. These organizations have been working to educate the public about the importance of reporting suspicious activities and providing support to the communities most affected by crime.

Additionally, Hawaii has implemented several programs that aim to provide assistance and resources for at-risk youth. Through mentoring, educational support, and job training programs, these efforts are helping to reduce the number of young people who may otherwise be drawn into criminal activities.

Investing in infrastructure and public spaces is another proactive approach taken by the state to enhance safety. Improved lighting, increased surveillance, and redevelopment of neighborhoods have contributed to a safer environment in Hawaii. These improvements not only deter criminal activities but also encourage community engagement and interaction, which can lead to a more connected and secure environment.

Finally, the state government has been allocating more funding for law enforcement agencies to update their equipment and technology. This investment enables them to respond more effectively and efficiently to crime incidents and maintain a strong presence in the community.

In summary, Hawaii is working diligently to improve safety and reduce crime rates in its cities through a combination of community engagement, targeted prevention programs, infrastructure development, and investment in law enforcement resources. While challenges remain, these ongoing efforts signify a positive step toward creating a safer environment for the people of Hawaii.