Crimes against the elderly are one of the fastest growing segments in Hawaii because the aging baby-boomer population is increasing and seniors are just more vulnerable.
A bill proposed by the Maui Prosecutor’s Office aims to reduce crimes against seniors by toughening penalties for those convicted of some crimes against those 60 and older.
The bill (which would apply to unauthorized entry into a dwelling in the first degree, first- and second- degree assault, first- and second- degree theft, and first- and second-degree forgery charges) also removes the state of mind requirement for these offenses.
Maui County Prosecutor Don Guzman, who is the driving force behind the bill, said it’s needed because the state will soon be populated with more people over the age of 60 than under 18.
“Honolulu has one of the largest populations of residents age 64 and older and is currently experiencing an epidemic of crimes against our kupuna,” Guzman said. “We as a statewide community must strengthen protections through solid legislation that sends the message that elder adult abuse and exploitation will no longer be tolerated.”