MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - After tragedy unfolded this past week, there's an effort underway to make sure it never happens at home. It's what's known as situational awareness and "if you see something, say something."
It's important to know who is around you, what's going on and if something bad happens, your way out. Ten, even five years ago, situational awareness wasn't a term used as often as it is today.
Police encourage you to turn it into a lifestyle because you can never be too careful. In Myrtle Beach, police have responded to each national tragedy by providing even more security measures here. For example, years ago at the Myrtle Beach Marathon, there weren't barriers between spectators and runners. After the Boston Marathon bombing, Myrtle Beach Police spokesman Lieutenant Joey Crosby said they added them.
At every big event in Myrtle Beach, like Carolina Country Music Fest last weekend, snipers are strategically placed and prepared for the worst. That wasn't always the case. Lt. Joey Crosby said they take every measure possible to ensure your safety, but it's a team effort.
"Make sure you have that knowledge, you're prepared in case something does happen. Make sure you stay off your cell phones you have the situational awareness, and that you have the knowledge of where the police officers are, where are the exits, how do I get help if I need it," Lt. Crosby said.
Lt. Crosby said to stay off your phone when you walk, especially in parking lots and garages. But, know where your phone is in case you need it. When you go into a public place like a restaurant or to a movie, know where the exits are. Look at who's around you and always use your senses.
Staying aware of your surroundings can also lead to noticing when something isn't right with strangers and with people you know. The six words 'if you see something, say something' cannot be preached enough, police say. Usually, nobody says anything until it's too late.
Lt. Crosby said "If you see something, say something because always, we're finding out that someone knew something, someone saw something, they just failed to say it."
The Orlando shooting happened on the last night of Carolina Country Music Fest here. In response, Myrtle Beach Police said they alerted the entire crowd during the festival to say something if they saw something off.
The Myrtle Beach police spokesman said noticing something that's off can happen anywhere, online in a public place. You don't have to know somebody to realize a possibly dangerous behavior.
"You may have that piece of information that may prevent a tragedy from occurring," Lt. Crosby said.
When it comes to people not speaking up, Lt. Crosby said people are fearful or concerned they're stereotyping.
"Establish your reaction based on someone's behavior. Not their race, not their sexual orientation, not their religion. You base it off their behavior, strictly. If you see suspicious behavior then you contact the police department and you let us know what that behavior is," Lt. Crosby said.
He said it's better to say something, than nothing.
Even on the slightest suspicion, allowing police to investigate is the right thing to do. You can call non-emergency number 843-918-1382 if you have a concern. The dispatcher will put you in contact with who you need.