MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Despite a recent rash of armed robberies, Myrtle Beach police report crime is down compared to this time last year.
Police say tracking crime trends is tricky business since many factors are involved. Lt. Joey Crosby with the Myrtle Beach Police Department says although it may seem like there are more and more violent robberies recently, that's not necessarily the case. From November 1, 2014, through the first full week of January 2015, MBPD recorded three fewer armed robberies than the same time period the year before.
Lt. Crosby says there tends to be more robberies and thefts during the holidays, then we will hit a lull before car break-ins start to ramp up for the summer. So right now, the priority is to snag the wanted criminals that are still on the run. One of the top ones on their radar in Myrtle Beach is this past weekend's armed robbery at Ocean's One Resort. On Saturday a man threatened the front desk clerk with a gun and demanded money from the safe.
Lt. Crosby says the city of Myrtle Beach is lucky none of the recent robberies have been deadly. But no matter how violent the crime, these accused criminals must be held accountable.
"What we try to do, we try to get those pictures out as quickly as possible that way we can educate the public to help us. If they see whoever may have committed the crime, they can call us and let us know who the person is," says Crosby. If you know anything about this case that could help Myrtle Beach police catch this suspect, call police at 843-918-1300.
There are many things that the Myrtle Beach Police Department believes has helped keep these crimes in check, but what they've been focusing on most recently is proactive policing. The department wants their officers to be more visible, more interactive, and more approachable. And so far, they believe it's working.
This approach really is two-fold. The officers are spending more time out in their patrol cars in their territories, especially the ones seeing recent crime. As they're out there, they're interacting with residents and workers trying to find out what are areas of concern for them. And they're also using their crime watch program to connect with businesses in the area.
"We're also using our crime watch program for our business watch program as well," says Crosby. "So our crime division officers out in the community to find out what's going on out in the community what's going on with businesses and to educate them as to the trends we're seeing throughout our area so that they're aware." This helps businesses and you to be more proactive. The department believes the more mindful you are about what kinds of crimes are happening, where they're happening, and who and what to look out for – the more police can protect you.
Lt. Crosby says this approach helps build trust and transparency, which leads to a tip, which leads to an investigation, which in turn leads to an arrest. And that's their goal.
Lt. Selena Small with the Conway Police Department says there were 25 robberies in 2013 and there were 26 in 2014. The city of Conway just recently released pictures of four suspects wanted in different gas station robberies – one from December 2014, and one from over the weekend. For any information on either of these crimes, call 843-248-1790.
And a high-profile case in Horry County has one gas station offering a $10,000 reward for any information about the suspects accused of killing a gas station clerk in Longs. Anyone who has tips on the case is asked to call HCPD's tip line at 843-915-8477, or the ATF tip line at 1-800-ATF-TIPS.
When different departments release surveillance video or suspect photos, it is important for you to pay attention and share them. The quicker these pictures spread, the quicker someone will recognize these suspects, the quicker police can snag another criminal.