LORIS, SC (WMBF) Horry County Police Chief Saundra Rhodes spoke at an anti-violence forum Saturday in Loris. Her advice surrounded around one main topic: community-oriented policing.
Rhodes said the Horry County Police Department has 255 employees, and compared to the thousands of people who live in the County, the Police Department could use some extra eyes and ears.
"The most important thing is that they can be the eyes and the ears for the police. When they see problems occur, when they see suspicious activity, we want them to call us. And I think it would give us both an opportunity in taking a proactive step in maybe preventing some of the violence," Rhodes said.
Chief Rhodes said the violent crimes that have been occurring throughout the county is "a major problem."
Chief Rhodes has voiced a concern to Horry County City Council to add more officers to the department, but since the city has a tight budget, Chief Rhodes said it is just a wish list right now. And whether or not she is given more officers, Chief Rhodes said the community needs to step in and take action.
"We need their help. We need their help in trying to reduce the violent crimes. The most important thing I want them to realize is it is not an issue the police department can address alone, that it is a community issue and that the police department is here and willing to work but we are not there in the community's everyday all day," Rhodes said.
Anti –Violence Activist Ed Wilson said the forum was held Saturday because violence in Horry County is getting out of hand.
"We have a lot of violence on the local level in Horry County. And we need to stop it. It's mostly black on black crime," Wilson said.
Chief Rhodes said the violence typically stems from socio-economic status and lower income neighborhoods tend to not call police because they see suspicious activity every day, and it eventually seems normal. But Rhodes said, that needs to change.
Wilson agreed, people should start calling police if they think there is a problem in their neighborhood.
"Killings are going on everyday, between the youth and if they see violence, they should call law enforcement and not be scared and not be intimidated by gangs," Wilson said.