Horry County council, police working to fix gang problem - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Horry County council, police working to fix gang problem

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - For the start of 2015, things haven't gone as smoothly as Horry County police would have hoped. Officers have already responded to 10 murders, and of those ten, seven came from only two communities; Loris and Longs.

Unfortunately for police, that isn't even the most damning statistic.

"What we have found is that every single one of those homicides, with the exception of one of those seven, have been gang-involved,” said Horry County Police Chief Saundra Rhodes.

That little detail presents a big problem for County leaders, and the folks they serve know it.

Some stood before county council today and made it clear they want something to change.

"Children cannot continue to die in the streets and we write it off as another statistic,” said Bennie Swans, a local reverend.

"We cannot solve the problems of the 21st century, with methods from the 50s and 60s,” explained Jerry Faulk, another local preacher at Monday's Horry County public safety meeting.

Reverends Swans and Faulk begged Chief Rhodes and all of county council today to step up their efforts against gang violence.

The men say the church and communities can only do so much.

While leaders were appreciative of the suggestions, they believe they are already moving toward a solution. County council members are currently working on adding new homicide detectives and a gang task force.

“I think from a governmental entity, we're doing what we're supposed to do, what a government is supposed to do,” said Council Chairman Mark Lazarus.

Lazarus says, in fact, he believes council is being more proactive than other entities in the county.

Not only is it working on stopping the problem, Council also wants to prevent gang violence, by creating more economic opportunities.

The reverends say they want to legitimize County Councils efforts by creating a task force or committee focused on community violence.

Lazarus says he believes Council's efforts are more than legitimate.

Copyright 2015 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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