Chief says Myrtle Beach Police continue to struggle with Bikefest gun violence, stats released

Chief says Myrtle Beach Police continue to struggle with Bikefest gun violence, stats released
Detailed stats of Bikefest incidents. (Source: MBPD)
Detailed stats of Bikefest incidents. (Source: MBPD)
More stats on Bikefest incidents. (Source: MBPD)
More stats on Bikefest incidents. (Source: MBPD)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Fewer people were cited and arrested in Myrtle Beach during the Atlantic Beach Bikefest 2016 than in 2015, however, more citations and charges were filed. One homicide was reported this year, compared to no homicides in 2015 and three in 2014.

"We continue to struggle with gun related violence associated with this event," said MBPD Chief Warren Gall. "Of the 6 reports of shooting, our preliminary reports indicate that only one was not directly related to the event crowds."

A total of 784 people were cited and arrested by Myrtle Beach between May 26 and May 30, 2016, compared to 809 people over a similar time period in 2015, and 1104 in 2014, according to statistics released Friday by Myrtle Beach Police.

"The weather likely contributed to a smaller holiday crowd, as several of the statistical categories seem to reflect," Chief Gall said in a statement.

There were six use of force incidents in 2016 and 2015, and three in 2013. One officer was injured this year, compared to three last year, and two in 2014. There were 138 collisions reported in 2016, up four from last year.

"As our numbers for 2016 reflect, progress is being made in our collective efforts to improve safety for the

visitors and residents of Myrtle Beach," Chief Gall said.

Several serious crimes were reported with less frequency during Bikefest 2016 than last year, including:

Armed robbery – 1 in 2016, 6 in 2015

Strong armed robbery – 1 in 2016, 3 in 2015

Criminal sexual conduct/assault – 1 in 2016, 3 in 2015

Stolen motorcycles – 9 in 2016, 18 in 2015

Stolen vehicles (other) – 10 in 2016, 23 in 2015

Police responded to a total of 3,509 calls for service, compared to 4,106 in 2015.

"Reductions in incidents of robberies and auto thefts is a positive step in the right direction," Chief Gall said. "Our auto theft detail recovered 55 stolen motorcycles and engines, valued at an estimated $230,000. Incidents involving large crowds of unruly or disruptive pedestrians were minimal, indicating that our strategy of crowd control was effective."

Nearly 600 officers, deputies, agents and other officials from 47 assisting agencies helped MBPD during Bikefest 2016, in addition to 77 volunteers. A total of 7,101 overtime hours were expended over the five days.

"The Myrtle Beach Police Department appreciates the assistance of our law enforcement partners from 40 plus agencies (local, state, federal), and our city teammates and volunteers," Chief Gall stated. "We also appreciate the patience shown by many of our visitors, residents and business owners throughout the months leading up to, and during the event. We will continue to work on improvements to the plan, and we will strive to keep the forward progress going as we seek answers to the on-going issues that are important to this community."

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