Students learn about crime prevention resources in MBPD's Citizens Police Academy

Students learn about crime prevention resources in MBPD's Citizens Police Academy

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The second week for the Myrtle Beach Police Department's Citizens Police Academy focused on crime prevention.

The daily population of Myrtle Beach will fluctuate from 30,000 to well over 250,000 depending on the season. To take care of all those people, a couple hundred officers are employed to patrol the streets. With those odds, the police department takes every effort to try and equip you with the right information and tools to make sure you have a direct impact on the safety of your own neighborhood.

If you are not sure how safe your home is, the department can send the crime prevention officer P.F.C Henry Bresadola to perform a site security survey of the house. This will identify risks and give suggestions how to fix them.

One thing Bresadola will check for is if there are street lights and if they are functioning. The street lights in the city of Myrtle Beach are owned and maintained by Santee Cooper. If a light is out, check for the pole number listed on the light pole. Then call Santee Cooper and provide that number. A work order should be made to have someone go and fix the light.

Something else Bresadola will check is where the bushes and trees are located on your property. Bushes should not be too close to the front door or too tall near the windows. This gives crooks a perfect hiding spot. If you're thinking of planting bushes, Bresadola recommends rose or holly bushes or something with thorns. That is a natural deterrent to thieves. Also, trees should not have branches lower than seven feet or reaching over your home. That also provides easy access to thieves.

A third thing Bresadola will look for is whether or not your front door has a deadbolt and if it is secure enough. Most deadbolts come with 1 ¼ inch screws, which only reach into the doorframe. A cheap fix is to buy 3 inch screws and replace the shorter ones. Longer screws will reach deeper into the doorframe and make it more difficult for anyone to bust the door down.

There are plenty of other safety recommendations that a site survey can provide. But some other easy recommendations that Bresadola will make includes joining the community watch group, if you neighborhood has one. Also, Bresadola recommends talking with your neighbors to get to know them. This will give you a peace of mind someone trustworthy will have a watchful eye on out your home if you're away.

If you are leaving town, you can enter your home into the Keep Check program. Call the non-emergency number (843) 918-1382 and give the officers your address, vacation information, and any other important details. Then an officer will come out once per shift to check on your house while you're away. This is a free program.

During the Citizens Police Academy class, Bresadola also taught how to use the P2C website. This site is the department's way of giving information from police to the citizens. It provides you access to daily events, police reports, and inmate searches.

Two apps were also recommended for both Android and Apple users. The Scam Detector app provides information on the most recent scams going around so that you are more aware and less likely to fall victim. And the McGruff Mobile app provides a look at sex offenders registered in your area along with crime activity reports.

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