SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) Residents living near the Deerfield area in Surfside Beach say they are worried about a recent spike in crime.
Chris Sullivan lives in the Golf Colony Resort area with his son and girlfriend Charity Martin. Sullivan says the area has experienced an increase in crime related to, what he says, is the deterioration of the area around the abandoned golf course.
"Unfortunately you've got the abandoned golf course area which is [criminals] throughway," explains Sullivan. "That's where they're hanging out and it's not very brightly lit up in there, so it's like they have a free reign of the area."
Horry County Police say a man tried to sexually assault a woman walking on a path near the golf course on Wednesday, but the potential victim was able to kick her attacker in the groin and escape any serious harm.
Police are still searching for suspects in that crime.
Over the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend, police say thieves broke into three cars and stole another, all on Colony Drive near the abandoned golf course.
In October, WMBF News spoke exclusively with the victim of a shooting crime in the Deerfield area.
In that case police say two men tried to assault a woman in a parking lot, and when neighbors nearby tried to prevent the assault, one of the suspects fired a gun and hit one of those neighbors in the hand, forcing the eventual amputation of his finger.
Sullivan says he has called police multiple times, but has yet to see any progress made against the alleged criminals.
"I find myself waking up every night, all night long, looking outside praying they're not going to break into my car," stresses Sullivan. "And that's just something here lately it seems like you have to deal with because it doesn't seem like anybody's doing anything."
Jason Adams lives with his wife and children in an apartment also near the golf course, and says not only was his friend's truck broken into recently, but just two nightS ago he claims to have heard gunfire near his home.
WMBF News spoke with Adams and a number of other neighbors nearby who say they wish police would increase patrols in the area, or that their Community Services Association would consider hiring security guards to monitor the community.
"There's no patrol back there, so there's no security to make sure the area is safe," Adams says.
Charity Martin says even their young son is not immune to the crime in the area.
"He said 'Mommy, somebody stole my bike' and he was just standing there bawling because someone stole his bike, the only thing he wanted for Christmas," Martin says.
Horry County Police did not specifically address whether they would increase patrols in the Deerfield area following the recent rash of crime, but did say they could increase police presence as needed in areas experiencing an increase in crime.
Sullivan says he believes even a minor increase in police involvement could make a big difference.
"Police presence could be beefed up in the area. Even if they sit out here one night in an unmarked car it wouldn't take them very long to find [the criminals]," Sullivan states.
Martin says she and Sullivan are expecting a second child, a baby girl due in April, and they say they are reluctant to raise their family in Deerfield, an area they otherwise like, because of the increase in crime.
"The whole thing is awful; I'm ready to move. We've got two months [until our lease is up] and I'm like 'let's go to the beach', because of all this [crime]," Martin says.