MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – No one wants to see crime take place near their home. That is why Myrtle Beach police are making sure prostitution doesn't go unpunished, especially because it can be an underlying cause for other violent crimes.
"We've had incidents here in the city where prostitution has led to armed robbery events and other violent crime events," said Myrtle Beach Police Lt. Joey Crosby. "Certainly the pattern that we've seen here shows it has the potential to lead to other crimes."
Some said they see up to five prostitutes a day walking the streets but, as Crosby explained, much more is needed to make a case.
"Just someone walking down the roadway is not a violation of any type of law. That's their constitutional right. So it's not just watching someone walk down a sidewalk. It takes some investigative work to get the elements of the crime of prostitution for the officer to make an arrest," he said.
Many hotel workers said it's not out of the ordinary to catch prostitutes in the act in back parking lots. Because these employees work in the area, they start to recognize the same women.
Officers are patrolling the area too.
"The officers are riding around and getting information from various sources and one of those sources are themselves riding around and seeing that activity," Crosby added.
He said the best-case scenario is officers catching people in the act. Often times, however, they can't do it alone.
Crosby said it's vital to have a line of communication between officers and residents, so that when they see something suspicious in their neighborhoods, they know to call police and tell them about it.
"We can put what you know in conjunction with what the officers see and build our investigations, but without you reaching out to us and letting us know what's happening in your community, we are missing a major link as far as a community policing aspect," Crosby said.