Matthew Leonard: HPD's New Data Dashboard Is A Good Start But There's Room To Improve - Honolulu Civil Beat

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About the Author

Matthew Leonard

Matthew Leonard is the data editor for Civil Beat and has worked in media and cultural organizations in both hemispheres since 1988. Follow him on Twitter at @mleonardmedia or email

Also, a note of caution about the latest census data on Native Hawaiians and a new tool on Hawaii’s hot housing market.

In case you missed it, the Honolulu Police Department made itself more accountable to public scrutiny in one fell swoop with the launch of a new data dashboard.

The online tool brings the HPD more closely in line with mainland departments of similar size like Nashville, that present both current and historical public safety data to their communities.

“It comes down to transparency, just making sure that we have useful information that is readily available for anyone to look at,” said HPD Capt. James Slayter Thursday.

HPD had already been working to make improvements to its website, Slayter said, and the plans for the new dashboard came together in January after department personnel met a Permitted Interaction Group with the Honolulu Police Commission.

That set them on a schedule to stand this new site up by the summer.

Slayter said there was actually no money in the current budget for the project so they had to come up with some creative workarounds for solving issues with outdated data servers and challenges with coding.

The current version cost less that $10,000 and will be managed in-house, while a “holy grail” site would cost closer to $35,000, Slayter said.

“So this isn’t the final product of what we wanted,” Slayter said. “This is the our best way to put out a quality product in a reasonable amount of time for a reasonable amount of money.”

New presentation of data by HPD includes statistics on use of force incidents by HPD officers. (Screenshot: Honolulu Police Department Data Dashboard)

The site notably includes some statistics that had typically been challenging to access, like use of force incidents by HPD officers.

That’s one set of data that will only be updated on an annual basis, Slayter said, but other categories like violent crimes, property crimes, crime by district and clearance rates will be updated daily from the department’s own internal Crime Reporting System.

That’s a significant improvement to what’s available now, but some categories like officer-involved shootings are still pretty thin and only show a count by year but no other information about the incidents.

The new portal does offers the ability to track some public safety trends over longer periods; that’s been a severe limitation of the still active HPD Crime Map provided by a third-party vendor which only allows a look back period of six months or so.

Additional mapping capability and more detailed comparisons year over year are definitely on Slayter’s wishlist for Dashboard 2.0 which we will likely see in summer of 2024.

The new dashboard isn’t perfect, but HPD has now permanently raised expectations around how and when it will share its data and that can only benefit community conversations about public safety and policing.

Census Bureau To Everyone: Use Our Data With Caution

The release of additional racial data from the 2020 Census last week enabled more detailed analysis of people who identify as Native Hawaiians.

Before we go any further, let’s just note this caveat from Rachel Marks, Chief of the Racial Statistics Branch: “Data comparisons between 2020 Census and 2010 Census detailed race data should be made with caution and take into account improvements we made to the question and the ways we code what people tell us.”

With that out of the way, for most observers the headline out of the new data was: More Native Hawaiians live on the continent than in Hawaii.

The 2020 census provided detailed information on Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders in greater detail. (April Estrellon/Civil Beat/2023)

That particular finding prompted Kuhio Lewis, CEO of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement to comment, “As a Native Hawaiian, this is a travesty for our community and culture. We need to change this trajectory quickly. We are losing the soul of Hawaii with every Native Hawaiian that leaves the islands.”

The Native Hawaiian Research Hui echoed that concern in a statement, but they also spotted more positive news in the release that “the proportion of Native Hawaiians in Hawaii remained stable from 2010 to 2020, currently constituting 21.8% of the state’s population. This represents a 0.5 percentage point increase from 2010, demonstrating consistent Native Hawaiian representation within Hawaiʻi’s population over the past decade.”

The Hui also observed the continental Native Hawaiian population is growing five times faster than the Native Hawaiian population in Hawaiʻi with “680,442 Native Hawaiians counted in the United States in 2020, a 29 percent increase over 2010.”

OHA Board Chair Carmen Lindsay said in a statement “the numbers of our people continue to grow and our demographic revival is stunning.”

New Insights On Our Favorite Topic: Housing

UHERO launched a new data dashboard of its own this week that has some impressive capability for researching Hawaii’s turbulent housing market.

Tens of thousands of data points on demographics, zoning, sale and rental prices and accessibility underpin the site, UHERO’s Justin Tyndall said during an online demonstration.

The site builds out from the Hawaii Housing Factbook report UHERO released in June.

The UHERO Hawaii Housing Data Dashboard shows new project permits in the fire-affected areas of Lahaina for the past nine years. (Screenshot/UHERO)

Visitors to the Hawaii Housing Data Dashboard can build a factsheet for neighborhoods down to the level of one of 63 zip codes and create visualizations for topic areas that can show the share of housing used for short term vacation rentals, rental affordability, out-of-state home ownership and more.

“We were able to purchase and collect data down to individual housing transactions, for example, individual rental listings so we can use that data to build it back up to whatever geographies we wanted,” Tyndall said.

The team responded to the Maui wildfires with a breakout section that provides a baseline of Lahaina town prior to the destruction of Aug. 8. This will prove invaluable when tracking rebuilding efforts and includes the ability to compare the median time it takes to process permits.

That was a feature the project team wanted to include after Gov. Josh Green’s emergency housing proclamations.

UHERO worked to create data sharing agreements with all the counties for data on building permits and that will enable the site to keep the permitting data current, Tyndall said.

“One issue historically was that data wasn’t recorded properly or very completely so we sort of had to overcome some of these issues by working with the data, but I think we’re in that place where at least at the county level, it should be quite accurate,” he said.

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About the Author

Matthew Leonard

Matthew Leonard is the data editor for Civil Beat and has worked in media and cultural organizations in both hemispheres since 1988. Follow him on Twitter at @mleonardmedia or email

Latest Comments (0)

It's important to add important context to all Federal surveys including the Census when making overarching determinations.The government unquestionably accepts all responses to whatever race or ethnicity a respondent self-identifies with.Further skewing monolithic determinations of any demographic is the Native Hawaiian definition of persons of Hawaiian ancestry regardless of blood quantum. The "one drop rule" or hypodescent is a poor and inaccurate baseline and is considered a remnant of racist culture in the USA. It also completely ignores the large percentage of mixed race people in Hawaii and throughout the US.This observation in no way diminishes the ongoing dispossession and displacement of Hawaiians and native Hawaii residents - of any racial blood quantum - from their homeland.

HuliOpu · 2 months ago

What percentage of the mainland population of Hawaiians have a college degree vs those who continue to live here? Education is an indication of economic well being.

Richard_Bidleman · 2 months ago

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