SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) Green laser lights shine up and down the coast in the Grand Strand each summer night and now, local law enforcement is cracking down on the dangerous device.
Surfside Beach Police Chief Mike Frederick told WMBF his jurisdiction has issued a handful of tickets this summer to people using the green lasers improperly. All those people were charged with disorderly conduct, and they paid a fine.
Chief Frederick said his officers will not hesitate to make an arrest if someone is caught pointing the laser into someone's eye, at a boat or into the cockpit of a plane. Chief Frederick said the lasers are the worst he has ever seen this year.
"This year they really popped up as a fad and they became a dangerous fad this year when certain knuckleheads decided to aim the lasers at the pilots of aircrafts, pilots of marine craft even coast guards rescuing. They've lazed our officers on the beach," Chief Frederick said.
Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach both have ordinances stating anyone under the age of 18 cannot buy a green laser. But, there is not an ordinance against who can operate the device.
Surfside Beach doesn't have that ordinance, but Chief Frederick said it's not just the kids causing the problem.
"It's about half and half, juveniles and adults. We don't think focusing on the juvenile aspect of it is really gonna solve the problem. It's not purely a juvenile problem. The problem is these things are pumped and sold at all the tourism related stores so folks just think it's some hobby we enjoy down here being lazed with green lasers, which is not the case," Chief Frederick said.
If someone is caught improperly using a laser in Surfside Beach, the penalty is either a ticket for disorderly conduct or arrested for assault and the fine can range anywhere from $262 to $470.
"It's another dumb fad and we hope it dies down and we're hoping maybe next year the green laser fad will die down a little bit. If we put some pressure on the right folks and really get into enforcing it and handing out these 262 dollar and 470 dollar tickets, that's a good way to ruin your week in Myrtle Beach to drop five hundred bucks on your local PD," Chief Frederick said.
Surfside Beach Police haven't made any arrests in regards to the green lasers because all the offenders have been compliant.