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With its beautiful beaches, laidback atmosphere, and year-round warm weather, moving to Hawaii is a dream for many. But before packing up and heading to paradise, an important question to ask is: which Hawaiian island is the safest to live on?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Kauai is generally considered the safest Hawaiian island for living due to its low crime rates, lack of natural disasters, and robust emergency services.

In this article, we’ll compare crime statistics, natural disaster risks, and availability of emergency services across the major Hawaiian islands.

We’ll look at factors like violent crime, property crime, hurricanes, volcanoes, tsunamis, floods, fire response times, hospitals, and more. By the end, you’ll have a clear understanding of which island offers the most secure environment to set down roots.

Violent and Property Crime Rates

Violent and Property Crime Rates

Violent Crime Statistics for Each Island

When considering the safety of a Hawaiian island to live on, it is important to examine the violent crime rates for each island.

According to the latest data from the Hawaii Department of Public Safety, Maui has the highest number of reported violent crimes, followed by the Big Island, Oahu, and Kauai.

However, it’s important to note that these numbers can vary year by year and do not necessarily reflect the overall safety of each island.

On Maui, the violent crime rate is higher compared to the other islands. This is primarily due to the higher population density and urban areas.

However, it’s worth mentioning that the majority of these crimes are concentrated in certain neighborhoods, and many areas of Oahu are considered safe and peaceful.

The Big Island, which is known for its natural beauty and rural areas, has a lower overall violent crime rate compared to Oahu.

This island offers a more relaxed and laid-back lifestyle, making it an appealing choice for those seeking a quieter and safer environment.

Kauai, known as the “Garden Isle,” has the lowest violent crime rate among the four major Hawaiian islands. Its smaller population and close-knit communities contribute to a sense of security and safety.

Kauai’s natural beauty and slower pace of life make it an attractive option for those seeking a peaceful and secure place to live.

Property Crime Statistics for Each Island

In addition to violent crime rates, property crime rates are another important factor to consider when determining the safety of a Hawaiian island. These crimes include burglary, theft, and motor vehicle theft.

Maui has the highest property crime rate among the Hawaiian islands, primarily due to its larger population and urban areas.

However, it’s important to note that property crime rates can vary significantly within different neighborhoods on the island.

The Big Island has a lower property crime rate compared to Oahu, making it a favorable choice for those concerned about the security of their homes and belongings. The island’s rural areas and close-knit communities contribute to a safer living environment.

Oahu, with its strong emphasis on tourism and community safety, has a relatively low property crime rate. The island’s robust security measures and vigilance contribute to a sense of security for residents and visitors alike.

Kauai, being the smallest and least populated major island, has the lowest property crime rate. The island’s close communities and residents’ commitment to safety create a secure environment for both locals and tourists.

It’s important to remember that crime rates can fluctuate over time and that these statistics should be considered in conjunction with other factors when deciding on the safest Hawaiian island to live on.

For the most up-to-date information on crime rates and safety measures, it is recommended to visit the official website of the Hawaii Department of Public Safety.

Also read: How To Live In Hawaii On The Cheap

Risk of Natural Disasters

When considering the safest Hawaiian island to live on, it is important to take into account the risk of natural disasters.

While Hawaii is known for its stunning beauty and tropical climate, it is also vulnerable to a range of natural hazards.

Hurricane Risks

Hurricanes can pose a significant threat to the Hawaiian Islands, particularly during the hurricane season which typically runs from June through November.

Some islands may be more prone to hurricanes than others due to their geographic location and exposure to prevailing winds.

For example, the Big Island of Hawaii and Maui have historically experienced a higher frequency of hurricane activity compared to other islands such as Kauai or Oahu.

It is essential to stay informed and prepared for potential hurricanes by following the guidance of local authorities and having an emergency plan in place.

Volcano Risks

The Hawaiian Islands are home to active volcanoes, most notably Kilauea on the Big Island.

While volcanic activity can create breathtaking landscapes, it also comes with inherent risks. Eruptions can release toxic gases, ash, and lava flows that can threaten nearby communities.

However, it is important to note that volcanic activity is closely monitored by the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and local authorities, who are well-prepared to respond to any potential threats.

If living on an island with an active volcano, it is crucial to stay informed about the latest updates from reliable sources such as the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

Tsunami Risks

The Hawaiian Islands are situated in the Pacific Ocean’s “Ring of Fire,” a region characterized by intense seismic activity.

This makes the islands susceptible to tsunamis, which are often triggered by undersea earthquakes.

While the risk of a tsunami occurring is relatively low, it is essential to be prepared and have an emergency plan in place.

Familiarize yourself with evacuation routes and listen for tsunami warnings issued by local authorities. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center provides real-time updates and alerts for the region.

Also read: How Often Does Hawaii Get Tsunamis?

Flood Risks

Heavy rainfall can lead to flash floods and urban flooding in low-lying areas of the Hawaiian Islands.  Some islands, such as Kauai, have experienced devastating flooding events in recent years.

It is important to be aware of flood-prone areas and take necessary precautions, such as having flood insurance coverage and being prepared to evacuate if advised by authorities.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides valuable information on flood risks and preparedness measures.

While no Hawaiian island is entirely immune to natural disasters, some islands may have a lower risk compared to others. It is important to consider your personal tolerance for risk and prioritize your safety when choosing where to live.

Stay informed, have a plan in place, and be prepared to adapt to changing conditions. Remember, the key to staying safe during natural disasters is being proactive and staying informed.

Emergency Services and Infrastructure

When it comes to choosing the safest Hawaiian island to live on, one of the crucial factors to consider is the availability and effectiveness of emergency services and infrastructure.

In times of crisis or medical emergencies, quick response times can make all the difference in saving lives and minimizing damage.

Let’s take a closer look at the emergency services and infrastructure on the Hawaiian islands.

Fire and Medic Response Times

Fire and Medic Response Times

When it comes to fire and medical emergencies, response times are of utmost importance.

The faster the response, the higher the chances of preventing further damage and ensuring the safety of individuals involved.

Fortunately, all the Hawaiian islands have well-established fire departments and medical response teams.

According to data from the Hawaii State Fire Department, the average response time for fire incidents across the islands ranges from 5 to 7 minutes. This quick response time is a testament to the dedication and efficiency of the firefighters in Hawaii.

Whether you’re residing in Oahu, Maui, or any other island, you can rest assured that help will arrive promptly in case of a fire emergency.

In terms of medical emergencies, the islands have a network of hospitals, clinics, and emergency medical services (EMS).

The average response time for EMS varies slightly across the islands, but it generally falls within the 8 to 12 minutes range. This prompt medical response can be crucial in saving lives and providing timely medical assistance to those in need.

Medical Facilities

Another important aspect of emergency services is the availability of medical facilities. Each of the Hawaiian islands is equipped with hospitals, clinics, and healthcare centers that provide a range of medical services.

These facilities are staffed with highly qualified doctors, nurses, and medical professionals who are dedicated to providing top-notch healthcare to residents and visitors alike.

One notable medical facility in Hawaii is the Queen’s Medical Center, located in Honolulu, Oahu. It is the largest private hospital in Hawaii and is renowned for its state-of-the-art facilities and comprehensive medical services.

With its advanced technology and highly skilled medical staff, residents of Oahu can have peace of mind knowing that they have access to excellent medical care.

Police Presence

Ensuring the safety and security of residents is a top priority for any community.

When it comes to police presence, the Hawaiian islands have a strong law enforcement system in place. Each island has its own police department that works tirelessly to maintain law and order.

The Honolulu Police Department, for example, is the largest police force in the state and serves the island of Oahu.

With its dedicated officers and proactive community policing initiatives, the department has been successful in maintaining a safe and secure environment for residents and visitors.

It’s important to note that while crime rates may vary across different parts of the islands, the overall crime rate in Hawaii is relatively low compared to many other states in the US.

This can be attributed to the diligent efforts of the police departments in ensuring the safety of the community.

Also read: How Safe Is Hawaii? Everything You Need To Know


When weighing all the factors – crime, natural disasters, and emergency services – Kauai emerges as the safest Hawaiian island to live on.

Its low violent crime rate, lack of active volcanoes, and robust first responder system make it a secure choice.

While no place is 100% risk-free, Maui offers the optimal balance of safety and the Hawaiian island lifestyle.

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