LIHUE — Two years ago, Kauai was the lowest in the state for incidents of property crime, according to a Crime in Hawaii Report.
The report, which was released in July, breaks the property crime offenses into three categories — burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft. In 2014, the property crime rate dropped 22.9 percent, with 2,043 incidents. That is almost 600 less than 2013, according to the data.
In 2014, which is the most recent data available, there were 2,224 incidents of property crime. In 2013, that number was 2,762.
In 2014, there was 674 incidents of burglary, 1,251 incidents of larceny and 118 incidents of motor vehicle theft, all of which are double-digit decreases from 2013.
Continuing that momentum, from 2012 to 2013, larceny and motor vehicle incidents decreased by 112 and 23 respectively.
While the numbers for 2015 and 2016 are not yet available, Justin Kollar, prosecuting attorney, said Kauai has seen a decrease in property crime in the last four years.
“That tells us that we are doing a few things right,” he said.
Kollar credits the steady decrease to positive collaboration with police and community watch groups, like Crimes Against Thieves in the North Shore, and Kekaha’s Neighborhood Watch.
“We’re working very well (with those groups) to quickly identify, investigate, prosecute and incarcerate the ringleaders in these cases,” he said.
Other towns, like Kalaheo, are in the process of developing similar watch groups, which Kollar says is encouraging.
While he concedes there is still a lot of work to do, he said preventing property crimes comes down to effective communication.
“We need to keep working to strengthen those relationships in those areas and keep those relationships strong in the areas where they already are strong,” he said.
Kauai also had a record state low for total index crime rate and larceny, according to the report.
However, Kauai’s incidents of violent crime — which includes murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault — increased 7.5 percent in 2014.
While murder for 2013 and 2014 comprised 0.6 percent of the violent crimes reported, robbery increased almost 4 percent from 13.3 percent in 2013 to 31 incidents the following year. In 2014, incidents of rape increased 5.1 percent to 32 incidents from forcible rape incidents 2013.
The FBI’s removal of the word “forcible” is notable, Kollar said.
The new definition, which went to effect Jan. 1, 2014, takes into account any non-consensual penetration, according to the report. The old definition “is defined as the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will,” the report states.
“The increase in violent index crime rate is, I believe, largely attributable to the FBI’s expanded and revised rape definition,” Kollar said.”When we see next year’s numbers we will know for sure if that is the case.”
While violent crime may be up, it’s still down by almost 25 percent from last year, Kollar added.
“There’s still very little stranger-on-stranger violent crime in our community,” he said.