Kee Beach, Haena State Park

Thwarting Theft in Paradise: Hawaii Visitors Take Notice

Saturday’s latest Hawaii visitor warning from the Kauai Police Department (KPD) was unfortunately not the first. In that admonition, visitors and residents alike were urged to take necessary precautions following a recent increase in vehicle break-ins on the Garden Isle. This time, the concerns focused on popular Kauai hiking spots that visitors frequent, particularly on the North Shore Kauai and in Kapaa.

In the current spate of incidents, thieves are once again targeting parked vehicles, often breaking in to steal valuable items left behind by unsuspecting victims. Common targets include electronic devices, wallets, purses, and other easily visible valuables within the vehicle.

Hike Waimea Canyon Kauai | Amazing Vistas at Waipoo Falls
Waimea Canyon, Kauai

Assistant Police Chief Elliott (Kalani) Ke urged both Kauai visitors and residents to take preventive measures to minimize the risk of being targeted by opportunistic criminals.

To protect oneself and belongings, the KPD provided the following safety tips:

  1. Do Not Leave Valuables in Your Vehicle: Prior to leaving your vehicle unattended, ensure that all valuable items are either taken with you or stored out of sight in the trunk or glove compartment. Visible valuables serve as temptations for thieves and increase the likelihood of a break-in.
  2. Park in Well-Lit and Visible Areas: Whenever possible, choose to park your vehicle in well-lit and highly visible areas, particularly at trailheads and hiking spots. Avoid secluded or poorly lit parking spots that may provide cover for criminal activities.
  3. Lock Your Vehicle: Always remember to lock your vehicle and close all windows before leaving. Even if your absence will be brief, taking this simple step can act as a deterrent to opportunistic thieves.
  4. Report Suspicious Activity: Stay vigilant and promptly report any suspicious individuals or activities near trailheads or parking areas to local law enforcement. Contact KPD Dispatch at 808-241-1711, or in case of emergency, dial 911. Your timely reporting can help prevent further incidents and aid in apprehending suspects.

Police also emphasized the value of collective action, including being informed (the purpose of this article) while remaining vigilant and implementing measures to deter criminals and ensure safety and security.

Hawaii Beach Safety Tips
Ala Moana Beach Park, Honolulu

Prior warnings: Maui, Big Island and Honolulu’s Police Department.

Honolulu Police issued a warning last year, asking that individuals be on the lookout for suspicious activities at beaches, resorts, and in local neighborhoods following another recent round of increased thefts.

In one month alone last year on Oahu, there were a staggering 650 reported incidents of car breaking or thefts, predominantly concentrated in and around Honolulu and Waikiki. Similarly, reports of car break-ins are also on the rise in other popular tourist destinations there, as well as on neighbor islands Kauai, Big Island, and Maui. This issue transcends a single island, highlighting the widespread nature of the problem statewide.

The surge in petty car crimes has prompted a reflection among those of us who live here, with many admitting to leaving belongings even in unlocked vehicles. With the uptick in car break-ins, there is a growing recognition of the importance of locking cars and taking basic preventive measures.

Electric Beach, Oahu

For visitors to Hawaii, adhering to basic safety precautions is paramount.

Turning off the car’s engine upon exiting, removing the key from the ignition, and locking car doors are simple yet effective steps to deter theft. Additionally, it is crucial not to leave valuables in plain sight within rental or personal vehicles, as this often serves as a prime target for thieves.

BOH tip: Avoid the temptation to move valuables to the trunk while in public view. If you have to do that after parking, move your car to another location in case you are being watched. We’ve been guilty of making that mistake and had our trunk broken into.

As incidents of auto crime continue to rise here in Hawaii, please share what you do to both remain vigilant and act proactively to protect yourself and your belongings.

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24 thoughts on “Thwarting Theft in Paradise: Hawaii Visitors Take Notice”

  1. Reading this and reading the comments brought back memories of my first trip to Hawaii. There were about 200 of us from our high school graduating class that took a trip to Waikiki. It was a week long trip and we were staying in a high rise about 4 blocks from the beach. After we landed and were getting ready to leave the plane, the tour guides sat us down in our seats and very explicitly told us that if were going to be out and about after dark, that we needed to travel in pairs, but, preferably, in a group of 4 or more. Needless to say, before our week was up, a couple of our classmates were beaten up and robbed. This was in 1978. Seems nothing has changed and appears to have gotten worse. To this day, I won’t go back to Waikiki.

  2. i dont know about crime indexes keith, but in four years on oahu, i have had a catalytic converter stolen, a van stolen, an attempted theft of a flatbed truck, a mailbox broken into, tresspassing at my home, and a smash and grab of my briefcase with a laptop and irreplacable personal belongings.
    Anyone with two eyes and a brain can see crime is way up in Hawaii, and petty thieves eventually become felons and violent felons as thier appetite for the spoils of others labor increases and they continue to feed thier own bad habits. We pay major taxes and endure incredibly burdensome bureacratic hassles to live here! our leaders should do better and we should settle for nothing less than safe streets and homes, rather than arguing stats.

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  3. How about mandatory jail time of thirty days for all car burglary (what this crime really is). This will accomplish 2 things. It will act as a detterent and will keep these slugs (burglars) off the street. The tolerance for this type of crimes endangers the public at large and provides incentives and training for bigger and more violent crime! Until we vote differently or lay down the law (pun intended) for those elected to protect and to serve the law abiding, tax paying citizens, we will see more of the same. There is No Aloha in damaging vehicles and stealing valuable personal belongings. Eventually tourist will go elsewhere to spend thier hard earned money, just look at San Francisco for example.

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  4. “The Lord helps those who help themselves…” Simple, Don’t leave yur Stuff in da rental vehicle! Everyone Knows which one’s da Rental! It’s like parking in “Sherwood Forest” with all your stuff on da front seat n a sign that says help yourselves
    ….

    Best Regards – A Local…,

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    1. So if we follow that logic, it is the law abiding persons responsibility to keep thieves from stealing stuff, correct? Maybe we should take all our valuables out of our home when we leave to go on a hike or out of town so our home wont get robbed! but wait, then all our stuff will be in our cars for thieves to take there. Terrible logic. Put em in jail and make them pay restitution. Zero tolerance for those too lazy to earn an honest living! There are plenty of jobs availalbe and there is no excuse for stealing someone elses property!

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      1. We can rationalize all we want, but reality is reality, if you leave things of value in a rental vehicle you are just asking for it to grow legs and walk. The best defense against theft is a proactive stance by the owner.

        You can equivocate all you want about how things “should be”, but that will get you nothing vs the reality of the situation. Personal responsibility has to come first. I repeat my advice as a local “Don’t leave yur stuff in da car”! I’ve never been broken into in all my 62 years both growing up there and visiting following this advice.

        Best Regards.

  5. Sadly after all these years, the news in print and television does not report how these crimes negatively impacts the tourist industry. These young adults & teenagers are so brazen even when the public is watching. Teenagers are active tagging, vandalism, and breaking into cars during holidays; that’s when police and police volunteers show be active too. While you see police cars parked at the Kuhio Beach station, you rarely see an obvious present walking in the Waikiki area or monitoring the parking at the zoo. I always lock my car, no valuables and don’t go to the beach on visits.

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  6. The crime index in Hawaii is 116 vs. 108 and 109 for Texas and Florida. Hawaii’s economy is generated by tourism. That being said , just give your wise leaders some time. They are just not as efficient at destroying a state as their buddies in California. Remember once it’s gone it’s not coming back anytime soon (Detroit 1968 anybody?) The model is a two tiered society of an unarmed lower class that serves an upper class of rich elites who can afford armed security.

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    1. The crime index huh? What propaganda website did you pull those figures from? I see much different numbers on actual government agency sites.

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      1. I’m a native Texan. Relatively long Hawaii resident. I was visiting in Texas a few weeks ago.
        The figures seem realistic and they are very close to each other.
        The primary element of Adam’s comment that is important will be the poorest of state, county, and city government officials “on the take” and just making friends with the wealthy.
        Tulsi Gabbard recognized this part of Hawaii and hopefully can help this state not fail like California.
        And he’s correct that the fees, parking, and other tariffs on visitors will make our income go down and many more young people with some Hawaiin heritage move to the mainland.
        All that visitors money along with federal aid go to the politicians and land owners in the state.

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    2. As a Maui resident, it is apparent that police and government leaders are much more concerned a out protecting the prefire druggie homeless and criminals than residents.
      These homeless have moved from the streets of Lahaina to Kaanapali and northward. Fairway Shops and Whalers Village now have groups of ten and more gathering to use drugs and to sell and buy them. Auto thefts are daily, with almost never an arrest. Even when police are provided photos and names of offenders. It is a sad day for Maui.

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    3. detroit actually came back swinging. in last 10 years the downtown area has been conpletely revitalized and RE values are up all around there.

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