MYTRLE BEACH, SC (WMBF)- The 2013 crime index numbers show that the overall crime totals in Myrtle Beach are higher than the previous year.
Both violent and non-violent crimes are tallied. All together, the totals were higher, but crime prevention officer Pete Woods explains that the three most violent crimes are down, and the property crimes are where the numbers jumped.
"Those three crime categories which are serious—serious violent felonies are all down," Woods says. "Property crimes are where we took a spike, an increase."
Myrtle Beach's population grows rapidly during tourist seasons, jumping from about 29,000 to almost 400,000 people. This is where Woods said most of the property crimes happen, because people are on vacation and have a different mentality. They do not have safety in mind.
"Whether it be 29,000 or 400,000, to only have two murders is outstanding. It's still the loss of two human lives," Woods says. "We're not Detroit, we're not Baltimore, we're not Philadelphia. We're Myrtle Beach, and we're not the most violent place in the United States of America."
Myrtle Beach's Public Information Officer Mark Kruea also pointed out that the crime rate increases when the population grows. He says neighborhood watch groups need to have a relationship with the police and communicate the things they see.
"It can't all be the police department. The neighbors and the community have to be involved as well; it's definitely a partnership between the city and the residents to make sure their neighborhoods are safe," Kruea said.
Officer Woods attends over twenty different neighborhood watch meetings, and not all of these meetings are big and formal. He went to one on Wednesday night where he sat around the kitchen table just as friends and family would. He discussed the crime index numbers with the group over coffee and cake. He really builds a relationship with the neighborhoods so they don't just call him when it might be too late.
"It's more of the awareness, it's that you don't just meet the police when there is an extreme emergency," Woods says.
Neighborhood watches help police control areas better and provide an open communication between neighbors. Neighborhood watch meetings are posted on the City of Myrtle Beach Website here: