MBPD: Bikefest operational plan contributes to decreased violenc - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

MBPD: Bikefest operational plan contributes to decreased violence

The Myrtle Beach Police Department is calling the traffic loop, pedestrian barricades, and Bikefest overall a success this year due to the direct decrease in violent crime. (Source: Amy Lipman). The Myrtle Beach Police Department is calling the traffic loop, pedestrian barricades, and Bikefest overall a success this year due to the direct decrease in violent crime. (Source: Amy Lipman).

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The Myrtle Beach Police Department is calling the traffic loop, pedestrian barricades, and Bikefest overall a success this year due to the direct decrease in violent crime.

"The citizens of Myrtle Beach tasked the Myrtle Beach Police Department with stopping the violence that was associated with last year's event," said Myrtle Beach Police Lt. Joey Crosby. Myrtle Beach police and other members of the Bikefest Task Force had spent months figuring out how to make this year's Memorial Day weekend safer than last when there were eight shootings within 48 hours. This weekend, there were two reported shootings.

The task force came up with the traffic loop to keep traffic moving along Ocean Boulevard, and also increased law enforcement presence and visibility, two goals Lt. Crosby said were met.

"Overall, we received a lot of compliments from our attendees as far as how officers interacted with the guests," Lt. Crosby said. "We've also heard compliments from citizens about how the officers controlled the situation, and we reduced the number of violent crimes that happened within our city over Memorial Day weekend," he stated.

He said the entire plan, and the people who were part of it worked in tandem to keep the area under control and more importantly, safe.

"Everyone pulled together this weekend to achieve that common goal of creating a safer environment for the citizens, for the attendees and for the law enforcement and EMS workers that were working for this event," he said.

The successes were met with some criticism from bikers who said the traffic loop and barricades made them feel restricted. "The traffic is crazy," Maurice White said. "They've got everything blocked off so we really can't enjoy ourselves like we want to," he said. 

Some businesses on Ocean Boulevard said the pedestrian barricades led to decreased sales, however, employees were thankful for the policing efforts. "Business is actually less than what we usually get, but I feel like everyone else is more controlled, and everything runs a lot smoother," said Dakota Stephen, of Mad Myrtle's Ice Creamery.

Lt. Crosby said the Myrtle Beach Police Department will be reviewing all the components of the operational plan, and how they were actually carried out to decide what changes need to be made for next year.

Copyright 2015 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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