HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - With a new police chief at the helm, Horry County wants to make big improvements to its police department and how people feel about their own safety.
Two of the main crimes the police department is looking to crack down on are domestic violence and breaking and entering of cars, identified at the Horry County Council budget retreat Thursday morning during a presentation by Tim Van Pelt, as one of the most prominent property crimes in the county.
The presentation said the goal is to reduce the number of reports of people having their cars broken into by 20 percent.
These are often crimes of opportunity because criminals will seek out unlocked doors and then steal items inside, so education is a major part of reducing these cases.
Police hope to do walk-throughs in neighborhoods where this has been a problem, hand out information about it and then follow up to see if it's been effective.
The police department is interested in hiring five domestic violence detectives specifically trained in handling domestic violence cases.
Victim advocates also may be reassigned to work in individual precincts instead of working out of the M.L. Brown building to better understand those communities.
"They learn the people. They learn the movements," Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus said. "The people learn them and know who they are. So if they have issues they feel comfortable reaching out to them and they know where the pockets of issues are and get back to more of a community policing."
The county plans to evaluate how people feel about how the police department is doing by using responses on the National Citizen Survey. The goal is to improve the overall feeling of safety rating from 48 percent to 53 percent.