Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune called this Memorial Day weekend the “most peaceful and calm she has ever seen” despite “gang-related” shootings.
Former mayor and Myrtle Beach resident Mark McBride expressed concern that the city’s emergency order wasn’t given in enough time to prepare for the event.
“How can any of y’all sitting there with the exception of these two not be prepared for something like this,” McBride asked. “Emergency order was given six hours before the holiday weekend started, in past this was planned weeks before the event. We have to go in a different direction. It’s not working.”
Mayor Bethune also addressed McBride’s concerns, saying that violent crime is down from when he was in office not because of her, but because of past council members making decisions to invest in public safety.
“We could have had an officer within 10 feet of each other and this still could have happened. We have a former mayor that came here today to do nothing but criticize. Violent crime is 2/3 less than when he was in office, not because of mayor but because of past council members decisions. For a former member of council to criticize is disgusting,” Mayor Bethune said. “You should serve this community forever and do so respectfully and you have chosen not to.”
City Manager John Pederson agreed with Mayor Bethune, saying city council members were out observing this weekend and were pleased with what they saw.
Myrtle Beach Police Department Chief Amy Prock said between 6 p.m. on Thursday and 6 a.m. on Monday there were 2,994 police calls for service. Preliminary numbers show there were 352 arrests, 789 citations and 43 traffic violations during this time.
Chief Prock also said she shares the community’s frustration and outrage over the weekend’s shootings and that this type of behavior will not be tolerated during any weekend. Prock added that all suspects have been arrested and will be held accountable.
Count on News13 for updates.
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Myrtle Beach council members will address a weekend of violent crimes at Tuesday’s meeting.
Council members at the 10 a.m. meeting will consider hiring ambassadors to help keep the city safe, among other initiatives. If the motion is passed, the group of ambassadors will serve as a second set of eyes for the Myrtle Beach Police Department as well as answer questions from visitors and help keep the city clean.
Although the ambassador program was up for discussions before the Memorial Day weekend, Councilman Gregg Smith said the recent shootings are even more of a reason to consider it.
The city brought in an additional 150 officers specifically for the holiday weekend. Still, city had two shootings, leaving one man dead and several injured.
According to Smith, the crime rate in Myrtle Beach has decreased by 19% in the last 2 years. “When things like this happen, those stats don’t matter,” Smith said. “If we can’t have a great, safe place for visitors to go, what does it matter that we’ve done so much to bring crime down?”
Of the topics to be discussed Monday morning, Smith says the safety of the Myrtle Beach community is a pressing matter.
“I think people often think that once you get elected to a position, you have all the answers. I will freely admit, I do not have all the answers but I’m willing to listen,” Smith says.
Smith encourages those with solutions to join him at the Myrtle Beach City Council Chambers at 10 a.m.
Count on News13 for updates from this meeting.
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