Horry County officials present plan to increase safety

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Horry County Law Enforcement Officials are planning big changes to help make the area safer. Officers presented a plan at the Horry County Public Safety Meeting on Wednesday.

"We're going to try improving methods and creative methods," said Horry County Chief Joe Hill.

One of those new methods officials are working on is a five-prong approach to address violent crime. Horry County Police Chief Joe Hill and Chief Deputy Tom Fox discussed this plan, saying their inspiration was an uptick in crime this past year.

"We had that shooting out and Longs and of course that shooting in Myrtle Beach and just some of the violent crimes associated with gangs and drugs that have made their way into Horry County," said Chief Hill.

The department talked about adding a civilian coordinator to help keep track of the department's efforts and share information with other agencies in the county.

"In order for us to eliminate the stove pipes, that's one agency containing some of the information, we need one central source that's going to help to share the information across all jurisdictions. We don't want it to be in the police department, we want it to be in the county government and not only for police department coordination but other community outreach efforts. We think that's out best approach," said Chief Hill.

This could be funded with the help from municipalities. 
 
"I think this is a county-wide issue, if we can bring it together for everyone in the county to work together then we'll see what the funding sources are and grants that are available, and see what the bottom line number is and we can all put it in our budgets," said Horry County Council Chair, Mark Lazarus.
 
Chief Hill says he's also been working to get a Crime Analyst for months.
 
"As a crime analyst that's one person civilian, dedicated, trained, educated in the art, and it truly is an art and a science of crime analysis. They can do predictive analysis, hot spot policing, heat mapping, they can take the spare databases from across the country and locate criminals that are committing crimes in our community," Chief Hill explained.

Now, law enforcement officials will continue to work on this project to determine the cost before it is presented to council.

"We gave them the green light today we were very pleased with what they gotten so far. Now they'll come back with how this will be operated, the positions they will need, and the funding sources they're going to need," said Lazarus.

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