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Salient Factors in Hawaii's Crime Rate

NCJ Number
M Chesney-Lind; I Y Lind; H Schaafsma
Date Published
47 pages
The rate of tourism has been the single most powerful factor in the crime rate in Oahu, Hawaii.
Since statehood, Hawaii's rate of property crime has been above the national average, while its rate of violent crime has been below that of the rest of the United Staes. Multiple linear regression was used to compare the relative effects on the crime rate of the following six factors which are commonly mentioned as affecting crime levels: the number of crimes cleared by arrest, the rate of imprisonment, the average minimum terms assigned by the parole board, the percentage of the population within the crime-generating years of age 15 to 24, the unemployment rate, and the rate of tourists per capita on any given day. None of the criminal justice variables had a statistically significant effect on the levels of either property crime or violent crime in Oahu between 1959 and 1981. Unemployment had a significant positive relationship to violent crime. The effects of the population age distribution were unclear. However, tourism showed a strong relationship to both property offenses and violent offenses. Policymakers should consider programs to reduce tourist victimization, review advertising strategies to determine if they are attracting a specific kind of tourist to the islands, and develop plans which avoid the types of projects which produce community resentment. However, changes in incarceration policy are unlikely to affect the crime rate appreciably. Figures, footnotes which contain references, and an appendix presenting the multiple regression results are included. (Author abstract modified)