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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.