#1. "RE: Honolulu HA--did you feel safe with your equipment?" | In response to Reply # 0cocola Nikonian since 02nd Jun 2008Fri 19-Jul-13 05:18 PM
I went twice with a D200 and a few nice lenses in a sling bag on my shoulder. Went everywhere I could without any worry. There were a surprising number of homeless, but I saw nothing that made me nervous or suggested anything criminal. I was alone and was out and about day and night with camera everywhere I went.
Awesome place. Go to the North Shore! If I am remembering right, the waterfront road around the East side of the Island is beautiful.
Enjoy your trip.
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"RE: Honolulu HA--did you feel safe with your equipment?"Bob Chadwick Nikonian since 12th Jan 2006Fri 19-Jul-13 05:56 PM | edited Fri 19-Jul-13 05:57 PM by Bob Chadwick
Same here. Had my D800 and 70-200 out all the time with no worries. I second the north shore. They had a surfing competition at the Bonzai Pipeline when we were there. Got some great pictures.
#3. "RE: Honolulu HA--did you feel safe with your equipment?" | In response to Reply # 0
I'd say that it depends on where you go in Honolulu. Downtown or in the tourist district, no problem. I can't imagine that Honolulu isn't like every other city, with some places that are much less savory than others.
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
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#4. "RE: Honolulu HA--did you feel safe with your equipment?" | In response to Reply # 0
I have visited 2-3 times a year in entire 90's and did not feel unsafe there at all. Even in the westside, where more natives are (not tourists).
In contrast to North East, people in Hawaii are so much nicer....
#5. "RE: Honolulu HA--did you feel safe with your equipment?" | In response to Reply # 0
I have been there many times over the years with quite a bit of gear and never had any problems.
Like any place else, use common sense and you will be fine.
#6. "RE: Honolulu HA--did you feel safe with your equipment?" | In response to Reply # 5plankowner110 Nikonian since 18th Apr 2004Tue 23-Jul-13 12:25 AM
Downtown Honolulu streets are pretty busy during the day but empty soon after dark. Saw many drifters but didn't notice anyone checking out my camera equipment.
Nikon since 1970
#7. "RE: Honolulu HA--did you feel safe with your equipment?" | In response to Reply # 0
From 1969 until this year I have been to Honolulu 50 or 60 times on business or vacation. Many times I stayed for three days or so, passing through to other parts of the Pacific. I lived there July-December 2000.
I openly carried a variety of gear, ranging from my Nikkormats and F to my present D800. I never felt unsafe.
If anything, my sense of safety has improved over the years. A few seedy spots like the old Hotel Street red light district have been cleaned up.
Just be sensible. Don't walk around by yourself late at night, or while mentally or physically impaired. As recently as four or five years ago, while I was there a tourist was knocked on the head and dumped into the Ala Wai canal to drown at the west end of Waikiki. Evidence indicated it was a robbery. But it was around 2 AM, and the area is quite obviously one you wouldn't want to walk around by yourself late at night. But I don't hesitate to walk along the brightly lit and heavily travelled Ala Moana Boulevard within 4 or 5 blocks of that area, up until midnight or so.
Don't leave anything valuable in your car. The first time I stopped at the spectacular overlook on the Pali highway headed to Kaneohe on the windward side maybe 40 years ago, I noticed a crunchy sound and feeling underfoot as I got out of the car. Looking around, the entire parking lot was covered with glass pebbles from broken car windows. I carried my camera gear with me, and didn't meet anyone who made me nervous.
#8. "RE: Honolulu HA--did you feel safe with your equipment?" | In response to Reply # 0
Just returned from a two weeks vacay in Hawaii which includes Honolulu. No problem with thief but I also used common sense by not leaving my gear in the car. I read that the biggest problem is when valuables are left in the car.
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#9. "RE: Honolulu HA--did you feel safe with your equipment?" | In response to Reply # 8Snappo Nikonian since 09th Apr 2004Tue 27-Aug-13 06:36 PM
Lived there 14 years on a corporate assignment, no better or worse than any mainland population center. Yes cars get broken into, your car will look like a rental to the locals, so it will stand out as possibly having valuables inside. Street corner hookers used to be bad news, especially for the Asian tourist.
Was out late at night many times entertaining mainland guests and never saw any violence.
Great place to visit, enjoy yourself.
a retired old duffer with the time to have fun,
#10. "RE: Honolulu HA--did you feel safe with your equipment?" | In response to Reply # 9km6xz Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009Wed 28-Aug-13 12:38 PM | edited Wed 28-Aug-13 12:40 PM by km6xz
I frequently see posts saying one felt safe in an unknown place but wonder what that really means. Being a tourist and usually unaware of surroundings or local cluing as to what form trouble might take, I envision that feeling of safety is what aids pickpockets in their profession, overconfidence that clues that are valid back in their home town are not seen so obviously everything is just fine.
The fact is that you stand out like a sour thumb, and do not know what risk signs might be that are more obvious to a local. No matter how comfortable you are, you are more at risk since you can't not hide the fact you do not know the local culture, are from outside and are not aware of many things around you.
As the popularity of higher end cameras has increased for average tourists, thieves who contented themselves with the 30 minutes a stolen credit card is open for business, or getting a purse a couple times a day, they have discovered the these newer higher end cameras and lenses bring more cash than credit cards or stolen pursed. A stolen high end lens can fetch $1000 and hardly be traceable to them. Credit cards are less profitable. Reports of a rapid increase in stolen higher end gear, where mid-line and entry level are ignored, thefts everywhere in tourist destinations in Europe and surely any other place with a concentration of tourists.
I advise visitors, the thousands I have contact with, to avoid displaying higher end cameras in very specific spots where the gangs focus their attention, or shoot outside of times with high concentrations of visitors. with less cover of congestion, thieves tend to not risk being seen in the open at night or early in the morning.
They can get more for a good lens or body and get it faster, than a large diamond ring or high limit credit card. One gang here in St Petersburg works 2 small areas of about 100 sq meters in front of a cathedral filled with tourist milling around and takes only high end Canon lenses, leaving the bodies. I talk with tour operators in Paris, Rome and all over and they all report a real increase it this specific area. Overall, street crime that involve confrontation or weapons is almost non-existent in all these tourist destinations, no one carries guns for example or wants to even be seen by the victim who often does not know their gear is gone until the thieves are long gone.
There is just possibly the same risk as at home, but in places with different cultures, you do not recognize the visual clues. Outside of tourist spots in Hawaii, it is as different a culture as you would find in most international tourism. I had a second home in Hawaii for years and was never accepted as a local. I have been in many other regions of world however and that includes 86 countries I have spent time in.
St Petersburg Russia
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#11. "RE: Honolulu HA--did you feel safe with your equipment?" | In response to Reply # 10rosewood_ltd Nikonian since 10th Sep 2008Wed 28-Aug-13 01:26 PM
I've been visiting Honolulu at least once a year related to my work, for the past 10 years, usually staying at least two weeks. I'll be in Honolulu for 4 weeks beginning in mid-Spetember. In general, I have found things to be pretty safe.
All of the previously mentioned caveats and precautions are good ones. My experience has been that snatch and grab theft is very uncommon, especially during "normal" hours. If you're out late in Honolulu proper, you should be particularly vigilant in the vicinity of Chinatown around Hotel St. This area remains a haunt of choice for transsexual and cross-dressing prostitutes, with attendant issues.
In general, Waikiki is pretty safe nearly all the time. Kuhio Ave /Seaside Ave. intersection area is also a heterosexual red light district still, with a number of close-by nightclubs. This is an area to be sensibly careful in late at night as well. There are fairly large numbers of intoxicated folks after midnight. Police presence in Waikiki during the evening hours is usually very high.
Practically speaking, I think your highest risk is having your car broken into during the day. I can't speak to statistics, but I have personally observed problems in several areas on the island. Waimanalo Beach Park is particularly bad for break-ins. Asian tourists seem to be especially targeted, but in my ten visits, I've seen 3 or 4 break ins in this area. Malaekahana State Park on the windward side is a very pretty place and worth a visit, but the parking lot is screened from the main road and is also a somewhat high risk area for break-ins.
Just observe general common sense and you should have a great trip. I'm nowhere near as nervous about being out in public with high-end gear in Hawaii as I have been in some other places (e.g., Las Ramblas in Barcelona).
The trick is not to make lemonade when life hands you lemons. The trick is to find the person life has handed vodka to and then have a party.
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#12. "RE: Honolulu, HI -- did you feel safe with your equipment?" | In response to Reply # 0
I think that Honolulu is no safer or more dangerous or any more of less concerning than any other busy tourist city almost anywhere else in the world.
Stan's example of the area immediately in front of a popular church in St. Petersburg is echoed in Rome in the square immediately in front of the Pantheon, and in a four block long area along Picadilly Street in London that I call Gawkers Walk, a similar stretch on Oxford Street and on Knightsbridge Road (near Harrod's) in London, and near the corner of Yonge & Dundas in Toronto, and on and on.
Thieves look for targets of opportunity in busy areas populated by milling tourists who are carrying easily accessed bags or who have put down bags of any sort that are easy to access. If your camera bag is unsecured and your attention is elsewhere, you might be noticed by a shill who distracts you while a picker lifts whatever he or she can from your open bag, or a picker might simply zoom in directly and make his grab while you're resting your eyes for a moment.
I was in a busy cafe near Notting Hill tube in London on a late afternoon in early May. A tourist threesome sat down a few tables away from me. Two of them got up, left all their bags and stuff sitting on chairs and headed off to the loo. The third one was told, "Watch our stuff, okay?" to which he nodded and then immediately proceeded to bury his face in either text messaging or email. Not for the first time during my travels, my reading was interrupted by a commotion about ten minutes later when the two came back to join their third and found that the ignored bags had been pilfered. I've seen or heard about a similar sort of incident on almost every business or photograhy trip I've taken for the past 30 years.
By comparsion, the number of actual confrontational muggings I've heard about can be counted on not much more than the fingers of one hand (and at least two of them, IMO, included drunk tourists who were carrying on like idiots to begin with).
I've walked some of the nastiest, bombed out, poverty-ridden areas you can think of and my gear was the last thing on my mind because it was secure rather than flapping in the breeze or left to be ignored on a chair. I've walked some of the busiest and most pickpocket and thief-ridden tourist spots you can imagine (which change dramatically from year to year - no single city ever keeps the crown for long) and, again, my gear was the last thing on my mind because it's always secure.
I walk many allegedly questionable areas with my shoulder bag slung and my camera on my shoulder. The camera is ready to shoot and I've either got a destination in mind or I'm already at the destination and looking for angles and shooting. The long looks that I've received have all rapidly turned elsewhere when the thief realized quickly that I was not a target of opportunity because I have a secure hold on my gear by habit. That's the key too - security through practice of good habits.
I agree with Stan. It's the awarness of our surroundings, the secure ways in which we carry our gear and the attention to our bags when we're relaxing in a cafe or moving through dense crowds that are the primary differences between someone who is ignored by thieves and someone who gets picked.
#13. "RE: Honolulu HA--did you feel safe with your equipment?" | In response to Reply # 0
I'm with Stan and Howard on this, and have been talking about personal awareness, street smarts, checking with locals, and not screaming by how you look and act, "Take my stuff," for many years in my travel column and articles in print media and on-line.
While there are some locales more "dangerous" than others, in general, no city which a tourist will visit is more or less crime ridden than others. In every city there are locations to avoid, especially at night. I know that's true of my own home city, Philadelphia. Stan mentioned 2 areas in St. Petersburg, and I know exactly where he's speaking about, having periodically been there and spoke to locals while there. You definitely take precautions in those kinds of areas.
I warn people traveling in Barcelona about pickpocket problems which are particular well known in the Las Ramblas area, for example.
Yet I've traveled in both these cities, and have particularly enjoyed photographing in the Las Ramblas area, for example, without incident. I've been careful, and street aware when there.
Before I venture anywhere in a city with which I'm unfamiliar I will ask people I know who live there about their city, or talk with the people where I'm staying, to start. They're going to have better information than people who've just visited a city a few times.
More than that, no matter where we go with our equipment, we will generally stand out, as Stan stated. We generally are dressed different, talk different, and look different than locals, and we have that equipment, over our shoulder, around our neck, or hanging from our waist or back. Talk about a dead giveaway.
Yet, as Howard stated well, we can reduce the size of that target on our back. We can do it the way we carry ourselves, how we secure our gear, how we maintain awareness of our surroundings, how we use our street smarts. Couple that with having obtained some local knowledge and we can minimize problems.
All that being said, in Hawaii, in Honolulu, in particular, talk with folks in your hotel to start. In the Waikiki area you're pretty much okay, and Russell's advice is dead on in my opinion. Chinatown late is a location I'd avoid, and late in the red light district can be a problem (It is everywhere.). Honolulu has a homeless problem like many cities. You want to be aware of that situation as you see it. Really, you just need to be aware of your surroundings and be smart about going around the city.
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#14. "RE: Honolulu HA--did you feel safe with your equipment?" | In response to Reply # 13mjt73106 Registered since 24th Mar 2013Sat 31-Aug-13 08:02 PM
As Ned says; "Really, you just need to be aware of your surroundings and be smart about going around the city."
Good advice for every day anywhere you are...