MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - People who live near Ocean Boulevard are coming together to start their own neighborhood crime watch group.
It's called the Seaside South Community Watch and the group held its first meeting Tuesday evening at the Coral Beach Resort along Ocean Boulevard.
Anyone who lives or owns a business from Fourth Avenue South to 18th Avenue South is asked to get involved with the new neighborhood crime watch group. The goal is to create safer streets and build camaraderie among residents.
Officials with the Myrtle Beach Police Department said the group who created the neighborhood crime watch shows how one area can come together and be proactive, thereby ensuring a stronger relationship with law enforcement.
A group of around 20 people had an open discussion with MBPD officers and Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue, and asked questions about reporting crime and prostitution. They also received safety tips.
Cindy Reaves is a member of the neighborhood watch. They went to police and city leaders six months ago to start the new group.
"Then we had to get individuals interested and go through the neighborhood and go door to door and speak with the individuals of our neighborhood to see if they are behind us, which we have gotten a tremendous outpouring of appreciation for this effort," Reaves said.
Reaves invited Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune and city leaders to the meeting. She is hoping meetings will lead to a positive change in the Seaside South area.
A resident for almost a decade, Reaves wants the neighborhood's current reputation to go away.
"When I was a kid and came to Myrtle Beach, this was the place to come. Spring break was all about it, and summer vacation. Now, I wouldn't bring my children here if I had children, with all the drugs and corruption, guns," she said. "I walk my German shepherd on the street down Ocean Boulevard in the summer time and you're seeing people with guns in the pocket. I mean it is awful."
Reaves believes each person has a part to play in order to see change. That's something Kenneth Bond, who has a vacation home in Myrtle Beach he's been coming to the past 20 years, agrees with.
"I think neighborhood groups are a very good idea, particularly in an area like this," Bond said. "The police can't see everything and they don't want people to get right in the middle of things, but a couple thousand more eyes is a really good thing, to involve neighbors who can call the police when needed. They'll see that we are pulling together and the wrong element may avoid this area, so hopefully this will have a positive impact."
Anyone is welcome to join the Seaside South group for discussion and organizers said the new group has sparked interest in surrounding neighborhoods