Is Hawaii Safe At Night?

Even though this tropical paradise with its sun-kissed beaches, luminous aqua-hued water, and outstanding natural beauty is one of the safest and most incredible destinations in the world,  some areas in Hawaii are not safe at night.

Hawaii is generally safe at night; however, some areas should be avoided as they are tourist traps prone to pickpocketing, scams, and rental car thefts. Areas that should be avoided at night include Wahiawa, Makaha, Kahului, Ewa Beach, Pahoa, Waipahu, Waimea, Waianae, Hilo, including Kapaa.

Even though Hawaii prides itself on being an incredibly safe tourist destination, opportunistic criminals target tourists in certain areas, especially at night. So, if you want to avoid venturing into potentially dangerous areas – read on!

10 Dangerous Areas To Avoid In Hawaii At Night

Although most prime tourist destinations throughout the globe are indeed prone to opportunistic crimes like pickpocketing and scams, and some areas are more dangerous, the same rings true for Hawaii.

So, here are the top 10 areas that should be avoided at night and even in the light of day:

1. Wahiawa

Commonly known as “Oahu’s armpit,” Wahiawa, which is home to Dole Foods, has a far higher crime rate than the entire state. And you can be assured that an area is dangerous if the police advise against visiting the town, especially when the sun goes down.

2. Makaha

Makaha is prime surfing and sea turtle-watching destination. However, it is also known as a tourist trap with one of the highest crime rates in the state, even though the Honolulu Police Department has numerous stations dotted around the area to keep locals and tourists safe.

Sadly, the police’s efforts are primarily in vain as there is a high chance that your wallet will be snatched, even in the light of day.

3. Kahului

Even though Kahului, a small industrial town in Maui, has a limited number of tourist attractions ranging from parks and museums, the area should be avoided, especially at night, as this town is renowned for its high crime rate.

4. Ewa Beach

While Ewa Beach, situated in Honolulu, might look like a tropical paradise with its stunning beaches, vibe nightlife, and several great attractions, don’t be fooled as it hides a dark underbelly.

With several spine-chilling police reports about visitors who have been robbed or kidnapped in broad daylight, the area should be avoided, especially at night.

5. Pahoa

Situated on the Big Island’s eastern tip, Pahoa was once a thriving surfing and arts community in its heyday before a volcanic eruption destroyed the once thriving community.

Today, it’s a small and dangerous little village with one of the highest crime rates and the most significant amount of sex offenders in the entire state, so give it a wide berth!

6. Waipahu

Situated on Pearl Harbor’s northern shore, Waipahu is a dilapidated former sugarcane plantation that has sadly seen better days. While the city has an interesting plantation museum, the area is renowned for its high crime rate.

So, head to Waikele, which is located opposite the H1 Interstate, as it has far safer and better tourist amenities.  

7. Waimea

Waimea’s only main tourist attractions consist of their annual Rodeo and the Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival. However, the area is riddled with crime and should ideally be avoided.

8. Waianae

Yet another area to be avoided, especially at night, is Waianae, which has a notoriously high crime rate and is frequented by most of Hawaii’s homeless.

Apart from the boat harbor, they have few tourist attractions, and the area’s beaches should be avoided, especially at night when it is incredibly unsafe.

9. Hilo

Hilo is the largest Big Island town and the oldest settlement in the region, with a thriving tourist trade due to their famous week-long annual events like the Merrie Monarch Festival, which is also the world’s foremost hula competition, including orchid shows.

Other tourist attractions include the Mokupāpapa Discovery Center and an informative tsunami museum.

However, while you are relatively safe in tourist areas, avoid venturing out too far, especially at night, as Hilo’s crime rate is 70% higher than the average crime rate.

Most importantly, avoid cycling in the area as frequent rainstorms and numerous drunk drivers have knocked down a few cyclists on Hilo’s narrow streets.

10. Kapaa

Although the seemingly idyllic small village of Kapaa, which is nestled in the heart of the scenic Kauai Nounou Mountain, is a popular trailhead for hikers venturing into nature reserves and adjacent forests, criminals have started targeting tourists in the area.

So, if you do find yourself in the area, avoid the local bars at night when they are especially dangerous.

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Hawaii Travel Safety Tips

Most tourist areas in Hawaii are relatively safe. However, it would be prudent to remain vigilant and avoid deserted areas at night, even in laid-back areas like Waikiki. If unsure about an area’s safety, chat with the locals or consult without a tourist office staff member.

Other helpful safety tips include:

  • Avoid empty city parks, especially at night, unless there are crowds of people like at the Kapiolani Park’s Waikiki Shell concerts.
  • Don’t carry valuables with you, and don’t openly display expensive electronic kits like cameras or watches.
  • Always watch your purse, and hide your billfold or wallet, especially in restaurants and theatres. However, as pickpocketing is not uncommon, a money belt that is hidden away would be a better option to safeguard your cash.
  • Hotels are public spaces, and a wide range of people may have access to your valuables, so always keep your room’s door locked, and use the safe for all your spare cash and expensive items.
  • Rental car burglaries are not uncommon, especially in hiking, beach, and hotel parking areas, where they are easy to spot. So, always park your car in a well-lit area at night, and ensure that are no visible packages or other valuables that might tempt criminals to break in.

Conclusion

Although the island has a relatively low crime rate, there are areas in Hawaii that are not safe at night or even in the light of day. However, it is essential to point out that you should always be vigilant, even in crowded tourist areas that appear to be safe.

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