Chamber helps make bike fest video for neighborhood watch groups

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce has compiled videos from social media for the Neighborhood Watch Leader to show citizens.

The woman who has been showing the video to neighborhood watch groups said she's hoping the video will unite the citizens with the city and help them understand why they could be footing some of the bill for the city's safety plans.

The video begins with a narration, explaining Myrtle Beach is a family-friendly destination 51 weeks of the year.

"However, on one weekend of the year, Memorial Day Weekend, the Myrtle Beach area is home to a large event that completely overwhelms our community and its law enforcement," the video states.

Though the Chamber has helped compile the video through public clips from social media, Lynda Thomas, a member of the Chamber's Advisory Committee, has taken the reins.

Thomas, also the organizer of the Pine Lakes Estates neighborhood watch group, hopes the video will spread the word and help citizens brace for serious changes on Memorial Day 2015.

"Be prepared for some inconvenience and don't say you didn't know. Because that's why we're bringing this information out to people, so everybody knows," Thomas said.

Thomas feels Memorial Day's true meaning should be returned, and it should celebrate freedom. Instead, she's seen residents coop themselves up in their homes, or go on vacation, leaving them with little to no idea of what's going on in our streets.

Thomas felt neighborhood watch groups would be the best place to start showing the video.

"People that are involved in their neighborhood watch groups are already proactive. They're already community-minded. They're already thinking anti-crime. A lot of what we see during Memorial Day week is crime, its just lawlessness," Thomas explains.

The video shows huge crowds, partying in the streets, fights in the streets, and shootings.

Thomas says she's seen two reactions so far: people that are completely shocked and feel the video is eye-opening, and others that feel the video is a PG Disney version of what they've witnessed, and it doesn't go far enough.

"There are parts of it that are hard to watch. It's not the kind of environment that we want to convey for Myrtle Beach," Thomas stated.

Eight groups have seen the video, Thomas has several more to go. The next viewing will be at the old Train Depot on Monday, October 6.

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