Stealing cars in Hawai'i

I just came back from a trip to Hawai’i and with my rental car, I was thinking to myself, “Why would someone steal a car here? What could you do with it? Where could you go with it? Won’t someone find it?”

However according to this site
http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/hicrime.htm

The FBI says that Hawai’i has the 8th highest rate of vehicle theft of the 50 states.

So who steals all these cars in Hawai’i and what do they do with them? Is it just joyriding or are there “chop shops” and such set up?

Well, you can get really far on the Hawaiian Interstate.

My guess is chop shops.

As I understand it, most cars stolen in the US are stripped for parts. (That’s why the Acura Integra is the most stolen car in the US. It has high performance parts that fit other Honda models.) I don’t see why it wouldn’t happen in Hawaii. In addition, many stolen cars are smuggled out on cargo ships and sold overseas. It seems to happen a lot in Japan, based on what the TV reports tell us. Apparently there are crime rings that steal and ship luxury cars on order.

I’m told that in Maui at least, a lot of it is related to rental cars. Locals will steal tourist cars and drive them around until they caught. I guess Law enforcment there can be a bit…different, and apparently few people will fault you for a little joyride.

  1. Tourists tend to leave stuff in the cars they rent. Video cameras, purses, etc.
  2. All the car rental cars are just a few years old. And then the used ones are sold to the public. So the average age of the cars here are pretty young and new, making their parts very valuable.
  3. A lot of the most stolen cars are very popular in Hawaii what with their being such a large Japanese cultural influence here. And since many of these are the most stolen cars (for parts) it works out that way.

Maui isn’t that small & most of the islands aren’t either, just driving to Hana on Maui is about 100 miles…

Since parts have to be shipped in, I bet they are more valuable there.

Then I guess I’m glad we always locked up the car.

When we took a vacation on the Big Island, the rental company girl told us that it was common for rentals to be swiped if not locked and that parts were shipped to Viet Nam.
I couldn’t see how that would be an easy thing, or why local law enforcement couldn’t stop it, I mean it was a friggin’ small island.
We did see a few Harley motorcycle gangs on the island, which was funny to me because where was there to go all the time? Just round and round.
Oh, I’m just jealous. I’d sell everything to live on a tropical island and just go round and round.

I just stopped by to steal a few apostrophes. I heard there were some extras floating around…

When I lived on Maui I always locked my car except at certen places like state parks and the beach. Same with my rental that I drove last week on Maui. I left the rental unlocked almost all the time. But I never left any valuables in it. Theves may or may not have browsed through, but at least all my windows were intact.

That’s not an apostrophe in the thread title TBone2. That’s an 'okina which is a glottal stop.

I always pronounce it that way which often confuses mainlanders who seem to want to call it Hawaya.

Anyway remember this, almost everything we consume in Hawaii (I tend not to type the 'okina) is shipped in which means we deal with very heavy shipping traffic. This makes it very hard to inspect each and every crate leaving. Although I have no idea how the stolen parts thing works. Maybe they sell it to semi legitimate dealers on the island and they ship it out.

I used the ’ because it appears in just about every single official document from the state and even on the signs for UH.

Awhile back a rather large crane was stolen from a construction site on Oahu, and they eventually found it in… er… Maui or Moloka’i. (This was early 90’s, if I remember correctly, so my memory is a bit hazy.) So yes, you can steal something relatively large in the Islands and nobody will see a thing, which is why I mention it here.

Also, unless your car has something very unique about it, it won’t be easy to spot your car amongst the others puttering about, assuming that they don’t manage to get it to another island. (Hiding in plain sight, and all that.)

But beyond that, I weigh in with Osiris’s comments on the volume of shipping that happens. Combine that with chop-shops, and you’ve got a situation where it’s difficult (at best) to keep tabs on what’s going in or out.


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I can never remember the good example of a glottal stop in American English but I finally found it again. It’s in the uh-oh. You see the way your voice stops between the uh and the oh, it should stop like that before the final I in Hawai’i.

Stolen car ‘graveyard’ found near Pali Highway

Eh, 100 miles isn’t that far. It’s about an hour at highway speeds.

Anyway, I’m from America’s Big Empty: The west. My idea of a long drive is at least four hours of concentrated driving at seventy miles per hour.

Mind if I drive next time?

MPH != Km/h

Every google page I came up with seemed to indicate that over the past 5 years, that award goes to either the Honda Accord or the Toyota Camry That’s also consistant with other reports I’ve heard.

So? What the heck do metric mesures have to do with anything? handy expressed distance in miles, I expressed speed in miles per hour. Why? Because Hawaii is in the US, a nation that uses miles as the standard distance measure and miles per hour as the standard velocity measure.

So what the heck are you blathering about?

The fact that you drive at 100mph on the motorways…

Grim