We've all heard this before, but it's very important to follow some safety rules while driving in O'ahu. Unfortunately, even in paradise you should use caution and common sense and avoid places you are unfamiliar with. Always lock your doors while driving (rental cars are easily distinguished and are targets). Do not leave any objects in the car or trunk and do no stop to take a quick picture and leave the car unattended.
A few preliminary steps will ensure a fun and safe trip.
It is a common occurence for car break ins on the island. Don't leave anything of value in the car especially in plain sight. Leave your jewelry and large cash amounts back at the hotel room safe. It's beter to be safe than sorry.
There are not many things to worry you in Oahu. Just watch out not to leave any of your valuables in the car because car break in is the most common crime here. We felt very safe in Waikiki but not so much in some dark corners in Honolulu. There are some homeless people but comparing to how many we saw in San Francisco it’s only a small amount of people.
Swimming is nice but never go alone, avoid unknown beaches and respect signs that have warning about big waves, jellyfish or other dangers. Choosing a beach with a lifeguard is something not to be shammed of. Don’t forget that we never turn our backs to the ocean, big waves may come in seconds.
Don’t forget to respect the nature, especially the sensitive corals and don’t to collect any corals and shells. If you want to try surfing take care of the people around you, I almost got beaten by a board by someone that decided to try it between the people that wanted just to swim.
One useless sign we saw near Arizona Memorial was this at pic 2, so don’t try to get inside with your revolver :)
Traffic is some kind of a warning too, the cars may get in traffic for hours, especially in Honolulu. Parking is a big problem too...
Hawaii has a low crime rate compared to most U.S. states and Honolulu has a low crime rate compared to most U.S. cities. You can generally feel safe in Hawaii -- especially anent violent crime. However, your stuff won't be safe if you leave it in your car; the type of crime that Hawaii does lead the country in is car break-ins. The driving force behind this is widespread drug use (crystal methamphetemine) -- users are looking for quick cash and pawnable gear to finance their next purchase. Basically, these theives believe that renal cars genenerally have valuables inside -- don't let them be right!
You will see evidence of car break-ins everywhere. The tell-tale sign is shattered glass in a parking lot. I've seen this at strip malls, at the Pali Overlook and on the North Shore. Especially vulnerable are the cars parked at roadsides that have beach access. So, start thinking about this as you leave for the day -- don't put anything in your car that you're not willing to carry with you when you leave the car.
If you don't think I'm serious, I'll let you know that it happened to me in September 2008 -- and my car is decked out as a local vehicle. I was parked in fashionable Lanikai right by the beach -- so it can happen anywhere!
A story: friends of mine who live in Hawaii and have taken up surfing found a great remote spot where they could often surf alone with great waves and no reefs. On populated Oahu, they were astounded at their luck, until the their third visit. After retruning from the water, they had found that all of their cars had been broken into -- side windows smashed. Luckily, they had left no valuables in their cars. But they never surfed there again.
When you rent a car, as a rule the staff warns you not to leave your personal things, documents in the car, because there were numerous incidents of the damaging cars and steeling things inside. As I noticed, the most of rented cars were convertibles and Mustangs, so it is easy to spot a rented car.
Keep an eye on it!
THEFT IS A MAJOR PROBLEM IN PARADISE:
Car break-ins are pervasive in Hawaii. Leaving valuables visible in your car is like begging for a smashed window and theft. If you MUST leave articles in your vehicle, place them in the trunk BEFORE you reach your destination. Thieves hang out at parking spots to watch people placing articles in the trunk. When the unsuspecting visitors are out of sight, the thieves pry open the trunk or break a window to grab the goods.