Honolulu, aka “The Big Pineapple,” is a culturally rich, complex city that is Hawaii’s equivalent to Manhattan island. In addition, it boasts beautiful beaches, fine dining not found elsewhere in Hawaii, and fascinating history that includes the only royal palace in the United States. Following this week’s strange attack at a 7-Eleven on Kalakaua Avenue, the main drag in Waikiki, we’ve had people ask us if Honolulu is still safe.
The suspect in the case, a 46-year-old man, has been charged with attempted murder after allegedly cutting off a man’s hand in the convenience store just after midnight on Friday using a sword. He is being held on $400,000 bail pending a court appearance this coming week.
Bystanders said a minor verbal disagreement occurred, after which a sword appeared that was used to sever the other person’s hand. It’s not been released if either the victim or the person arrested were ever employees of 7-Eleven and what connection if any, the two men had. This does not, however, appear to be an attack against a visitor, which is important to note.
Is Honolulu a safe city to visit?
In a Forbes article a few months ago, Honolulu was rated as the second safest city (of over 300k population) in the U.S. The first was Virginia Beach. Because there is very little in the way of violent crime in Honolulu, when something like this does happen, it makes the news quickly.
Your editors have, in total, spent a great deal of time in Honolulu over decades. Both of us said to one another that we rarely have, if ever, personally felt unsafe there. Mind you, there are sketchy places we probably wouldn’t walk at night, just like in any major city. That might include Downtown Honolulu, among others. There were also two occasions of questionable safety we recalled, one in a hotel parking lot in Laie where there was a brawl and another at a parking lot at a low-class Honolulu airport hotel. But other than that, nothing. You may have different stories to recount, and we welcome your input.
Crime in Honolulu is low, which is why it has been rated among the safest major cities in the U.S for years.
Tips to improve your safety in Honolulu.
Be wary of places where there aren’t a lot of other visitors. That could include less-trafficked beaches after dark, deserted side streets, and parking lots, to name a few. In general, most crime happens after dark, so it’s a crucial time to be cautious and not walk alone on streets where there are few people. If you are concerned about safety, have your phone on to stay in touch with family and friends, so they know your location.
Remain aware of your surroundings. The biggest problems in Hawaii tend to revolve around alcohol, and drugs, so watch for people who are intoxicated. These dealings can occur around isolated beaches, for example.
Waikiki at night is one of its charms. So we aren’t suggesting not going out at night. Waikiki is an enjoyable place to walk on your own with others around and in groups. Generally, we stick to areas with many other people everywhere to avoid even the remote possibility of getting into trouble.
Realize that petty theft is a common occurrence in Honolulu and throughout Hawaii. So do keep an eye on your belongings at all times. That includes not keeping valuables in your car.
The biggest dangers in Honolulu.
These aren’t crimes but rather a sunburn, injuries from hiking, snorkeling, jellyfish stings, car accidents, and jaywalking.