Conference aims at fighting crime in Grand Strand, Pee Dee

Myrtle Beach, SC - By Kyle Grainger - bio | email

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Police officers from across the Southeast are in Myrtle Beach for a conference on CrimeStoppers and how to get more people involved in the program.

Law enforcement officials say CrimeStoppers is a useful tool to solve crimes in the community. It's an anonymous telephone tip line, resulting in a cash reward if the tip leads to an arrest.

Florence County Sheriff Kenney Boone says the tips help solve crimes.

"It's a necessity. It's something that we have to rely on. At a conference like this, we learn what others are doing in the nation - which can help improve in our area," said Boone.  "We need their information. We're only as good as the community will allow us to be, so we rely on the eyes and ears of the public to solve these crimes."

Boone hopes to take information learned in the conference back to Florence County to get more people involved in the CrimeStoppers program. He said early Tuesday that he's found some ways to do that.

"People have information that are afraid to give it," said Lt. Timothy McFadden, head of the CrimeStoppers program for the state. "They don't want to get involved, but CrimeStoppers is here to give them that avenue where they can get involved."

Some in the Booker T. Washington community of Myrtle Beach say they're concerned about crime, and people afraid to report crimes is a grim reality.

"We've got to clean those things up to make sure our children have the opportunity to enjoy great recreational centers here. They can be involved in positive things, and if we can do that, Booker T. Community can turn the corner," said Bennie Swans, who's lived in the community for seven years.

Roddy Brown has lived in Myrtle Beach for 60 years and says he's seen changes over the years. He hopes to one day live where there's no crime, and the young people would have something better to do than to get into trouble.

"The crime problem is an ongoing situation, and not only is it a common problem in this community, but in other communities and we're looking at ways to combat that," said Brown.

Swans believes the people of Booker T. have a good attitude about solving crime and that's why he enjoys where he lives.

"They have a can do attitude and have done a great deal over the last 7 years to improve the quality of life in this neighborhood," Swans added.

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