Police form special response team in efforts to prevent seasonal - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Police form special response team in efforts to prevent seasonal armed robberies

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Police will be forming a special response team after seeing a spike in armed robberies November through January.

Police say these armed robberies also include purse snatchings, and car break-ins. In the month of November, police say there have been nine armed robberies and what concerns police the most is the violence in these crimes.

“If this month continues the way it's gone so far, it could be you know, a significant amount of armed robberies,” Lt. Denis said.

Looking at the numbers, Lt. Raul Denis with the Horry County Police Department points out November through January, there's a clear spike in armed robberies.

“Well there's a lot more going on during the holidays, there's a lot more people out late, there's a lot more people carrying money, and shopping and things of that nature. There's a lot more distraction going on because it's darker out, people go to work and it's dark, they come home and it's dark,” Lt. Denis explained.

The latest armed robbery happened at the Scotchman on 544 around 6:30 a.m. Wednesday morning. Police say the suspect assaulted the clerk to the point the 60-year-old woman suffered serious injuries and needed medical attention.

Even though the overall number of armed robberies is down this year, this is the kind of violence that has police on high alert after last year’s string of armed robberies. Currently there have been 106 armed robberies for the year compared to 236 for all of 2014.

“The ones that we had at the end of last year and the beginning of this year, were particularly violent and that's really concerning, and that seems to be a trend in the number of shootings that we've had and the number of violent crimes, it's just consistently risen,” Lt. Denis said.  

After two clerks were murdered at Sunhouse convenience stores last year, a task force was created to find the suspects responsible. This year, The Horry County Police Department isn’t waiting for anyone to lose their life.

“Because they have the potential to be such violent calls, we really want to try and get in front of that and try to prevent them,” Lt. Denis said.

Lt. Denis says the chief of police is working on a special response team to focus solely on armed robberies.

“We will try to be there, and discourage this sort of crime from happening,” Lt. Denis explained.

Lt. Denis says the special response team will allow more officers to cover certain targets and some may be undercover.

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