MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Myrtle Beach Police Chief Amy Prock says the department saw a 13 percent drop in violent crime for 2019.
Violent crimes range from murder, to robbery and rape. According to the department, robberies went down 24 percent last year and homicides dropped 25 percent.
Officers with MBPD say the reduction is thanks to new technology and increased patrols in high crime areas.
“We have a full time crime analyst who is able to work with our officers to determine where the hot spots are, where we should allocate resources, we have a power shift and with that power shift we take those officers and put them in areas where we have community complaints,” Cpl. Tom Vest with MBPD said.
The overall part I crimes in the city increased by seven percent. Part I crimes are split into two categories- violent crime and property crime. Police say property crimes rose, especially larceny, which increased by 17 percent. According to the department, officers saw more shoplifting and car theft, however, 80 percent of those cars were unlocked.
The FBI determines violent crime statistics using a city’s permanent population. Mayor Brenda Bethune says the reduction in violent crime is significant considering Myrtle Beach’s daily population fluctuates.
“Our permanent population being 33 to 35,000, our average daily population being 150 to 160,000, we have a great story to tell,” Bethune said.
MBPD has set goals for 2020, including starting a NIMBIN program. The program, which is run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or ATF, would help police identify weapons used during crimes.
“We’d be able to take a shell casing from a crime and link it to other crimes, link it back to guns and link it back to specific people who are doing harm to our communities,” Cpl. Vest said.
Chief Prock also says the department plans to add a new K-9 to the force, and continue to expand the city’s camera program.