What are some of the reasons for the spike in violent crime in Hawai‘i? What are some solutions?

I believe that the majority of violent crime spikes in Hawai‘i are caused by issues with money and mental issues not being treated properly. Based on my observations and research, Hawai‘i is one of the most expensive states to live in. Most people can barely afford a nice place to live in because they are living paycheck to paycheck or they live with others to help pay for bills. By being in a situation like this, problems can occur. Such as people not being able to pay for bills where they end up in debt and suffer the consequences. While facing such consequences, some people become desperate and act on irrational decisions.

For example, the tragic incident on Jan. 20 of this year where a resident was going to lose their home because they were unable to afford to live there anymore and caused multiple homicide scenes, which affected the whole state. Another example, just last year, a man in Pearl City with a mental health disability was in a gun standoff with police. This all could have been prevented if these people got the right support to take care of the issues they faced.

In addition, it is not in a police officer’s scope of practice to know how to handle mentally ill/disabled people because there hasn’t been any. There is hardly any mental health illness training and awareness police officers need to take. All they know how to handle is regular civilians. Police officers do not take into account there is “special” people.

– Christian Tiapin

I believe that recent spikes of violent crime in Hawai‘i comes from intolerance of others. There are many people among the streets and homes on this island, whether you’re a resident or a non-resident who are intolerant. For example, as much as it pains me to say, family members are intolerant of people who are down on their luck.

Let’s use the homeless; someone who is homeless in Hawai‘i isn’t a bad person. Homelessness can be caused by many different factors, whether it be a crippling drug addiction, someone whose family has left them during their time of need; or an individual that works two or three jobs at the same time, but still isn’t able to make rent. Many people only zero in on the negatives. A drug addict? It’s his fault he’s down on his luck, why should I help? Baby bites can be used to solve this type of problems. Stop violence in drug users by giving clean needles, a safe and monitored place to have a fix. You can’t wean addiction in a day, but you can help people feel more human when they’re doing something they mentally hate, but physically need. People deserve a safe space, no matter what.

– Paul Goguen II

In my view, people commit crimes for two primary reasons. They feel isolated, desperate perhaps they feel some form of personal animosity. Two, they are not in their right state of mind. I think that the cause of that could be because of homelessness, stress in one’s personal life (family, friends) or work life, or potentially because of drug use. Hawai‘i’s opioid crisis is among the worst in the nation, and despite the general high living conditions of our islands, it is no secret that many people still struggle. I think that our government should invest itself more in social services which can aid people who otherwise feel vulnerable and at risk of lashing out and doing something dangerous.

– Jeremy Yurow

The reason for the spike in violent crimes in Hawai‘i is that our justice system is broken. Too many times people who commit violent crimes go unreprimanded. These perpetrators are given a slap on the wrist at most because of their position of power or because of their inside connections. Another issue is that in order to convict these people, the prosecution and law enforcement force survivors to constantly relive their trauma.

In order to fix this issue, our justice system needs to think long and hard about whose side they’re on: the perpetrators or the survivors. Because right now, it looks as though they only care about letting off these perpetrators for the sake of appearances. We need better trained officers to deal with those survivors that report. We need an empathetic justice system who listens. And we need a prosecutor that’s going to do their duty to get these violent crime offenders off the streets and into a rehabilitation program that will get them the help they need to reform.

– Amanda Ishida

Personally I believe violence stems from violence and lack of self-control. There are many things here to make people angry but we need to control that emotion and use it. When you’re driving around and get cut off by a reckless driver, we should take a deep breath and let it go. We should stop looking at others’ flaws and focus on the good in our lives. There is no need to get angry at people who do wrong, because they obviously don’t care. Instead we should hold them accountable. Some people don’t realize what they’re doing and there’s nothing wrong with approaching them and talking with that. Doing nothing never helped anyone. We should care more about the world and the people that live in it.

– Andrew Cabrales