MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – ‘No vacancy’ signs were lit up across dozens of Oceanfront hotels by the middle of Labor Day Weekend along Ocean Boulevard.
From the packed parking lots, traffic jams, and the number of people checking in and out, the crowd size on Sunday was comparable to weekends such as Memorial Day. One difference – less chaos and fewer crimes downtown.
Flashback to May, shootings and gang-related violence took over downtown streets in Myrtle Beach. “I believe we had about three weeks of total mayhem in myrtle beach,” said Ben Robinson, a downtown business owner.
Four months later, on Labor Day Weekend, extra precautions are in place: an ‘extraordinary event’ declaration by the city, an ambassador program, and about 200 additional law enforcement.
The additional 200 law enforcement officers were from out of town city and sheriff departments across South Carolina. Officers from the South Carolina Highway Patrol, SLED, South Carolina Probation and Parole Services, and South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, also assisted the Myrtle Beach Police Department on Ocean Boulevard.
Hotels reservations were full, and cars were backed up on Ocean Boulevard, reflecting a crowd similar to weekends early in the summer, but businesses and visitors say the area appears to be more controlled.
“We have the police presence now, and they are doing a great job,” Robinson said. “As long as they have the police presence on Ocean Boulevard, we are never going to see those problems,” Robinson said.
“The officers are developing relationships with those business owners as well as attendees here, and so far, it’s been a very smooth weekend,” MBPD Captain Joey Crosby said.
Officers recommend visitors who plan on leaving Monday to plan ahead and utilize the city’s traffic map as visitors will likely experience traffic congestion on Highway 501.