HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – If you have a question about the community or even need help with an issue you're dealing with personally but don't know who to call, Horry County leaders are making it easy for you, and it's all with the push of a few buttons.
It's called the 2-1-1 system and it's offered to you right now by the state.
The Horry County Community Violence Subcommittee is working to put their own spin on the service, but in the meantime are encouraging you to make use of what's already available.
The 2-1-1 system is an automated telephone answering system and online application giving you access to community programs. You can get information on everything from food banks to substance abuse, counseling and detox.
Right now when someone looks for a different service they have to call a number of different areas. But by using the 2-1-1 system it would link you directly to the service you need.
The county's 3-1-1 spin on the app won't require those who live in the area or are visiting to go through an operator, and would be more specific to the Grand Strand.
"It's not being used that much in Horry County and part of our studies on the committee indicated a lot of crime is the result of social problems so what we're trying to do is provide avenues for after school-programs, treatment programs for drug abuse so we can have a central clearing house for people to go to," Horry County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Tom Fox said.
The 2-1-1 system is managed by the United Way and operated by a grant program by the state so it doesn't cost the county anything.
Horry County leaders are also taking notes on the way a county in Florida deals with crime in an effort to implement the same plan in your community.
Leaders are looking into Florida's Orange County. The area recently saw a spike in crime, so Horry County is taking notice of how officials there address the increase in violent crime.
Horry County leaders chose Orange County because it has a comparable population. There are about 700,000 fewer permanent residents here than in Orange County, but at any given time that population can triple, just the same as Horry County's.
Since that spike in violence, Orange County started using a Prevention, Intervention, Enforcement and Prosecution method. And more recently, they went to Oakland California and looked at their federal program called Cease Fire.
It addresses violent crime in neighborhoods. In a meeting Wednesday, Horry County leaders will discuss those methods to try and implement them here.
Fox said they'll be looking at "how they analyze their data, what local resources they use to develop their subcommittees and what their path forward is, Instead of forging our own way, I think we're so much similarly situated to Orange County, Florida that we can learn a lot from them."
Some more topics of discussion are reinstating Crime Stoppers, having a central clearing house for social programs and analyzing crime data to see what they can do to reduce crime among youth.
There will also be a representative from the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce to speak with the County about helping youth find jobs in our community.
The meeting is Wednesday at 3 p.m. at the Horry County Judicial and Government Building in Conway.