Deerfield community members take steps to prevent crime

SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF)  Some people who live in the Deerfield area near Surfside Beach say they are taking steps to keep crime from rising.

There are several neighborhoods in Deerfield, and some homeowners say some of the Property Owners Associations are working together to increase security following an attempted sexual assault and three car break-ins in January.

Just this week they managed to get the lights around the old golf club house to stay on at night. That is just one step people are taking to make sure everyone feels safe.

Rory Shellenberger lives in Deerfield where he heard about the crimes in January. He has also just heard of a few crime warnings particularly in Phase One of Deerfield where he just sold his mother's home.

The Property Owners Association in Phase One sent out emails and newsletters letting owners know about a recent attempted home break-in and a suspicious van driving around. Similar crime-watch related updates have been used for about a year Mastropolo said. She said they are becoming more useful than ever recently.

"They're really good at that," explained Joan Mastropolo. "They really are. They always keep us informed."

Mastropolo said the vandalism to the old clubhouse started after the golf course shut down. Since then there have been a few more crimes than usual she said.

"It's a fairly safe community," said. "I don't feel that we have a problem, at least not yet."

Still, she values the updates on crime that let her and her neighbors know they need to be on the lookout. She is also glad the POA is also paying off-duty officers to patrol the neighborhood.

"We all live here," Shellenberger said. "Let's try and fight whatever it is that's making it bad for everybody."

Horry County Police spokesman Sgt. Robert Kegler said the department has maintained its patrols in the area, but there has not been an increase. He said the crimes in January were not considered by police to be a crime spree that required additional patrolling.

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