MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Myrtle Beach police say they take drinking offenses very seriously during spring break.
Stretching from the last couple weeks of March and through the month of April, the spring break crowds have the Myrtle Beach Police Department's attention right now.
Lt. Joey Crosby, with the Myrtle Beach Police Department, says the alcohol enforcement team is focusing on prevention and being proactive.
Officers are going into clubs, bars, and restaurants, working with businesses to determine how to make spring break safe.
The partnership includes providing tips on how to spot fake IDs and how to spot someone who is too drunk.
However, Crosby explains, it doesn't end there because the bartenders, bouncers, and restaurant managers can only control so much.
He says it's important for people to take responsibility for themselves and know how they are going to get back to where they're staying safely, adding that walking should not be the go-to exit strategy.
Police say walking, in itself, isn't bad but they don't want people to use walking home as an excuse to drink more.
Lt. Crosby says police do see a spike in alcohol-related crimes over spring break and people don't always realize the dangers of walking home after a night out.
"If you're intoxicated and you're walking back to your motel room or your home, you're very vulnerable. You're not able to keep up with your surroundings as you would if you are not intoxicated. You are not able to hear things as well or see things as well," Crosby said.
This is something Lt. Crosby says can make you a target.
"So we don't want you to become a victim of a crime. So again, we are looking to make sure you are able to take care of yourself and get to where you are going to, safely," Crosby added.
The other life-threatening danger is getting hit by a car because of staggering into the street.
Lt. Crosby suggests having someone sober walk with you and if a police officer does stop you, a decision will be made.
"If you're able, such as you have a friend with you and you're able to tell us where you are going, and you are able to walk back on your own on your free will without hurting yourself or anyone else, then we will let you go," Crosby said.
Or, Crosby explains, it could go the other way, especially if it's clear someone can't walk or talk.
"If you don't have a plan in place, and you are not able to tell us where you are staying, then we must take action to protect you," Crosby explained.
Lt. Crosby says the potential danger of drinking and walking is there which is why officers will be out and they will be making sure everyone is O.K.
He says the department's goal isn't to arrest spring breakers, it's to keep them safe.