City leaders look for way to combat crime on Ocean Boulevard - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

City leaders look for way to combat crime on Ocean Boulevard

Proposals will be discussed at the next budget meeting to discuss safety along Ocean Boulevard. (Source: Ruby Durham) Proposals will be discussed at the next budget meeting to discuss safety along Ocean Boulevard. (Source: Ruby Durham)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Recent shootings in one popular area in Myrtle Beach are giving city leaders momentum to force change.

City leaders want to make Ocean Boulevard safer by adding an additional five police officers to the area. But the problem is where is the money going to come from to put them in place?

Myrtle Beach leaders want to hire two new code enforcement officers and create a contract to get outside agency support to use their mobile command center. The proposal comes with a $1 million price tag.

Some of the money would come from federal drug forfeiture money, funding from capital projects, and the city's general fund, but that still won't cover the entire proposal.

Leaders are considering increasing millage taxes to cover costs, but that's just an idea and hasn't been set in stone.

Some who work along Ocean Boulevard agree there needs to be active police 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

However, one employee who has been working at Peaches Corner for 15 years disagrees with any idea to increase a potential property tax to fund them.

“They should look at other ways to find money or cut something to bring more money back to the boulevard, move their revenue of officers back here like it used to be, in the days when we had officers here all the time. We didn’t have to call them; they was here," Peaches Corner employee Robert Alston said.

Along with finding money to add more police officers, city leaders want stricter code enforcement, more lighting, and store fronts downtown that will make it easier to see cameras and use license plate readers.

The proposal also includes a business watch program to make employees be more of the eyes and ears on the boulevard and work as a team with police.

Alston agrees there needs to be more police presence, and not just cruisers sitting with no officers in them.

"We need more police officers here because of the violence during Easter week," he said. "Now it’s getting ready to be our busiest season of the summer, and the car, that’s not a deterrence to most criminals. They see an empty car sitting there, they done rode by two or three time, then they’ll notice nobody is in there. They don’t pay that no mind."

City leaders have not voted on this proposal, as it is all just ideas at this point. 

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