Hawaii is famous for its sandy beaches, astounding landscapes, rich native culture, and picturesque sites. It’s one of the most frequented states in the U.S, with millions of tourists visiting its islands each year.
Like any other place, you may want to know if Hawaii is a safe place to travel. The good news is that you can explore Hawaii and enjoy a trouble-free experience.
However, your safety in this region depends on common sense. The best way to avoid potential risks in Hawaii is to be in the right place at the right time.
Is Hawaii Safe to Visit?
As a tourist hotspot, Hawaii is a very safe destination to visit throughout the year. However, just like any other city or country, not all places in this seeming island paradise are safe.
Be sure to do your due diligence to avoid crime-ridden neighborhoods or areas prone to volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, earthquakes, and strong currents. One of the primary safety concerns for any traveler is the crime rate.
There are several neighborhoods in Hawaii that experience high crime rates. However, the crimes aren’t severe and typically revolve around petty theft, graffiti, and drug-related crimes.
Gang, murder, or gun violence in Hawaii is rare. Before leaving your hotel, be sure to learn about the safety of the place you want to explore. The secret to staying away from crime is to keep your eyes wide open wherever you go.
Natural disasters are another safety concern in Hawaii. Volcanic activities formed the islands that make up Hawaii. The state has five active volcanoes, some of which are the most active globally.
High volcanic activities in this region can cause earthquakes that might endanger your life. Hawaii is located in a place referred to as the “Ring of Fire,” known to experience frequent earthquakes. When on the beach, consider safety precautions to avoid becoming a victim of strong currents or tsunamis.
This island-state experiences tsunamis at different times of the year, especially from October through May. Other natural disasters to watch out for include hurricanes and flash flooding.
Despite having various hot spots for crime and natural disasters, Hawaii is still one of the safest regions to travel to. So when going out into nature, research the most dangerous places you should avoid.
Avoiding Common Crimes in Hawaii
Unlike other tourist destinations in the United States, Hawaii has a low violent crime rate. Hawaii’s crime rate in 2022 is at 2.5 incidents per 1,000 people. That’s lower than the 2.6 incidents the state reported in 2021.
Hawaii boasts lower violent crime than the national rate of 4.0 incidents per 1,000 people. Common crimes in Hawaii include petty thefts and drug-related crimes.
Visitors are also likely to fall into the trap of scammers and pay for sites they could explore for free. Violent crimes such as gang violence, armed robbery, and murder are associated with drug trafficking.
Gangs and drug addicts are prevalent in some neighborhoods, mostly in secluded areas or train tracks. Travel advisors and state police caution tourists against visiting such areas.
As a result, tourists rarely become victims of violent crimes. The only common crime that tourists fall prey to in Hawaii is property crime.
Over the years, the total crime rate has been falling, meaning that Hawaii has become a safe tourist destination. Do you want to stay away from crimes when exploring Hawaii? Here are top safety tips to consider:
Watch Your Belongings
When going out, pack your belongings in bags and carry them wherever you go. If you’re on the beach, leave someone watching your bags when taking a dip. Petty robbers target attraction sites like beaches and steal unattended things.
Don’t Walk Alone at Night
Walking alone in the streets at night might attract robbers. If you must go out, walk in pairs or groups.
Leave Valuables in the Hotel
Most public places and tourist destinations in Hawaii have pickpockets looking for tourists’ valuables. You don’t have to walk with an expensive watch, necklace, or phone.
Leave such valuables in your hotel before exploring Hawaii. If your hotel has a safe, keep your valuables there. Ensure to lock the doors and windows before leaving the hotel.
Avoid a Flashy Lifestyle
If possible, avoid looking like a tourist. Don’t rent flashy cars or wear flashy clothes and jewelry. Stay like the locals to have an easy time when interacting with them. A flashy lifestyle will make you an easy target for pickpockets or violent robbery.
Beware of Scams
Scammers are everywhere and know that tourists are easy targets. They will either sell your fake items or tours. Others will charge you an entry fee to destinations people explore for free. If you come across pushy salespeople, ignore them because they might be scammers.
Keep Your Money Safe
How best you explore Hawaii will depend on the money you’re willing to spend. However, before leaving your hotel, carry enough cash to cover the day’s expenses.
There’s always the risk of losing money to petty theft, especially in areas with high crime rates. Purchase a money belt where you can safely stash your cash. You’re less likely to lose a money belt than a wallet.
Avoid Deserted Areas
When visiting crime-ridden neighborhoods, avoid deserted areas or train tracks. These areas are magnets to drug addicts and gangs. Explore public places or hire reliable taxi drivers to get you across such locations.
Don’t Get Too Drunk
Nightlife in Hawaii is one of the most exciting activities that attract tourists. When you go out to a local bar, avoid getting too wasted. Being so drunk can put you at the risk of becoming a victim of assault, theft, or rape.
Don’t Leave Your Bags in a Rental Car
Theft of bags and valuables from parked rental cars is a common issue in Hawaii. When parking your vehicle, don’t leave bags and valuables on show. Thieves target rental cars to look for anything they can take. Leave valuables in your hotel and carry your bags with you.
The best way to avoid being a target of petty crime is to stay alert. While most areas in Hawaii are safe to explore, losing your valuables or money takes seconds. Detect suspicious people who might rob your belongings in public places by staying vigilant.
Avoiding Bad Neighborhoods
Hawaii has several neighborhoods considered dangerous for tourists. These neighborhoods have high crime rates, and you’re more likely to become a victim of theft, assault, or rape.
That said, these neighborhoods are home to some great tourist destinations and beaches. But relatively speaking, the crime is more often to occur here, rather than a place like Waikiki or Lahaina.
Wahiawa is a neighborhood and city in Honolulu County. It’s one of the oldest neighborhoods and best known as the “armpit of Oahu.” Unfortunately, Wahiawa has a high rate of crime and is ranked 10th in Hawaii in terms of crime rate.
Drug use is also rampant in this neighborhood. If you must visit Wahiawa, avoid going out at night. Female tourists shouldn’t walk alone. In case of a crime scene, reach out to the Honolulu police department for help.
Waianae is a coastal town and a neighborhood in Honolulu. Waianae is a poverty-stricken town with the highest population below the poverty line. According to Welfare Info, approximately one in every four residents in this town lives in poverty.
Like most poor-stricken hoods, Waianae has a high crime rate, with violent and property crimes being the main contributors of worry. Avoid this place if you don’t want to be a victim. If you must visit Waianae, don’t go out at night and avoid the beaches.
Makaha is a neighborhood and a town situated on Oahu’s west shore. Makaha has beautiful surf beaches and landscapes to enjoy a holiday. However, this neighborhood has the highest per capita crime rate in Hawaii.
Area Vibe estimates the total crime in this region to be 34% higher than Hawaii’s national average. According to Crime Grade, your chances of being robbed are 1 in 15 in Makaha’s northern neighborhoods.
When you visit Makaha, you will likely become a property or violent crime victim. Luckily, the district 8 community police station is nearby to keep locals and visitors safe.
Waipahu is a culturally diverse neighborhood near the Ewa district in Honolulu county. Waipahu is a poverty-stricken neighborhood with a lot of drug-related crimes. The use of methamphetamine is out of control among the locals.
In 2019, the Narconon Program named Hawaii as the USA’s meth capital, with Waipahu among the affected regions.
The overall crime rate in Waipahu is 36 incidents per 1,000 people, higher than the national rate. Avoid exploring this neighborhood alone or at night.
Ewa Beach is a coastal town located in the Ewa District, about 20 miles west of downtown Honolulu. Despite being a beautiful neighborhood to explore, Ewa Beach has a bad reputation regarding criminal activities and drug use.
Kidnapping, car break-ins, and mobbing in broad daylight are rampant in this area. There’s also a high use of methamphetamine. As a tourist, avoid Ewa Beach at all costs.
Here are other places you should be cautious when exploring:
Safest Places in Hawaii
Now you know the most dangerous places you should keep off in Hawaii. What about the safest places you might reside or explore? Here’s a list of the safest places you can visit in Hawaii:
- Schofield Barracks
Visiting Hawaii as a Solo Female Traveler
Hawaii’s sandy beaches, beautiful islands, and rich culture attract a lot of female travelers. The state allows you to join top tours and explore the islands safely. However, as a solo female traveler, you’re a possible target of thieves, assailants, or rapists.
Here are the tips to consider to help you enjoy the best out of your Hawaii trip:
Find Secure Accommodation
When finding accommodations, choose one with good reviews from other solo female travelers. The housing should be secure and not in an isolated place.
Don’t Go Out Drinking Alone
Go out as a group with fellow female travelers to drink and avoid getting too wasted. Ensure to get back to your hotel earlier.
Hire a Taxi When Going Out
If you don’t want to rent a car, you can hire a reliable taxi driver to ferry you around.
Don’t Tell Strangers Everything About Yourself
When chatting with strangers on the beach or at parties, don’t tell them everything about yourself.
Don’t Go Hiking Alone
Exploring hiking trails alone might expose you to various crimes. Join other female travelers, hiking groups, or tours to explore Hawaii. Hawaii’s crime rates and natural disasters shouldn’t scare you from exploring this chain of islands.
When you visit Hawaii, ensure to look for other female travelers. You will encourage and learn more from each other. You have nothing to fear as long as you explore Hawaii with your eyes wide open.
Visiting Hawaii With Family
Would you like to travel to Hawaii with your loved ones? Luckily, Hawaii is a safe and exciting destination for families. Head to Oahu and allow your kids to visit a Disney resort as you spend time in a spa.
You can also visit various child-friendly beaches and underwater adventures. Explore the vast islands to see volcanoes or spot whales. Traveling with kids in Hawaii means you have to be more vigilant.
When walking in public places, keep watch of the little ones. Avoid crime-ridden neighborhoods like Ewa Beach, where kidnappings and robberies are rampant.
If you don’t want to take your kids out, many accommodations in Hawaii offer reliable childcare. Remember to find secure accommodations with all amenities that your family needs. Hawaii temperatures might go higher than in other regions on the mainland.
Carry enough sunscreen to protect your family from sunburns. Sleep under a mosquito net or burn mosquito coils to keep mosquitoes away.
Things to Consider
Here’re the things you shouldn’t do in Hawaii:
- Don’t touch wildlife such as sea turtles or monk seals.
- Avoid sunscreens that aren’t reef-safe.
- Don’t hike late at night or on illegal trails.
- Don’t park wherever you want.
- Don’t carry lava rocks on your way home.
- Don’t hold bonfires on the beach.
- Don’t disrespect the culture.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are answers to frequent questions about visiting Hawaii:
What are the dangers of going to Hawaii?
When visiting Hawaii, watch for flash floods, hurricanes, rockfalls, waves, currents, reef cuts, and box jellyfish.
Does Hawaii have a high crime rate?
No. Hawaii’s crime rate has decreased over the years, with only 2.5 incidents of violent crime per 1,000 people.
Which Hawaiian island is safest?
Kauai is the safest island in Hawaii, with the lowest violent and property crime rate compared to other islands.
Is Hawaii safe to walk around at night?
You can walk around at night in some Hawaii neighborhoods and cities. However, avoid walking alone or visiting secluded areas.
Are there gangsters in Hawaii?
Hawaii has over 140 street gangs. Most street gangs have members of the same races, such as Filipino, Native Hawaiian, Hispanic, Tongan, and Samoan.
So, Is Hawaii Safe to Visit in 2023?
Hawaii is a safe destination to visit alone or with family. While there are cases of crimes and natural disasters, you shouldn’t fear exploring this beautiful island state. The best way to explore Hawaii is to stay alert and use common sense. Happy travels!