MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Law enforcement has seen a decrease in gang members across the Grand Strand.
Fifteenth Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson said Horry County hit an all-time high the last two years, with over 1,500 gang members. That number has decreased to 1,400 gang members with 60 gangs in Horry County.
Richardson said a 100 to 200 person difference doesn’t seem significant, but usually gang activity rises with a growing population, which has been seen across the Grand Strand.
"That figure of about 1,500 has actually dropped in the last two years and that is a direct result of our targeting gang members,” he said.
Richardson explained certain types of gangs are becoming more common.
"The vast majority are these hybrid gangs that are really split down. Nationally-recognized gangs are the Bloods and the Crips and the Gangster Disciples. But when you go down, you may have Insane Gangster Disciples or a subset of Gangster Disciples,” he said.
Richardson said the county has prosecuted 18 gang members through the federal system.
"Just this last year, still yet to be prosecuted, we’ve gotten 26 through gang activity,” he said.
Richardson explained the increase in prosecuted gang members and decrease of gangs in the area is a direct result of targeting specific gang members.
"The prosecutors themselves have quadrupled, but also the FBI, DEA, and all those guys have also gone up substantially for our area. We also got federal funding through HIDTA that also targets not only gang activity but drug use,” said Richardson.