Myrtle Beach police playing classical music in several parks to prevent crime

Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 7:09 PM EST
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Preventing crime by changing the environment, one speaker system at a time.

That’s the kind of strategy the Myrtle Beach Police Department is adding to their crime prevention methods after receiving complaints about drug use and loitering at several of the city’s parks.

In Futrell Park and Chapin Park, you can now find classical music playing during the daytime.

WMBF Investigates first heard about these potential changes coming to some of the city’s parks through emails we obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Back in May 2021, MBPD Chief Amy Prock sent out a list of proposed changes to City Manager Fox Simons, to “address the activities that are being passed on and observed periodically in order to avoid the increased needs for service during our peak times.” It was proposed that they could address these issues with a CPTED, or Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design, approach.

“When we’re talking about CPTED, it’s generally talking about high shrubs, areas that would conceal people, improving lighting, picnics tables,” explained MBPD MCpl. Tom Vest. “We were receiving complaints that they were not being used for picnics.”

Plus, adding classical music to a park’s airwaves is just another way to promote peacefulness.

“It encourages enjoyment of public spaces in ways that don’t involve enforcement,” Vest said. “So it discourages criminal activity, and makes it so that we’re, as a police department, we don’t have to come in here repeatedly to enforce laws, but people are encouraged to enjoy the public spaces in positive ways.”

The speakers start playing music in the morning when the park opens, and give an end-of-day announcement to say the park is closing at sunset before shutting off for the night.

Withers Swash Park is also in the process of receiving CPTED-style changes.

“Every city, every environment is a different place, so different strategies are needed,” Vest said. “We’re listening to what our community says. If there’s a complaint - we’re going to work to address it.”

Vest said if they get complaints, they evaluate the area. He also said if you have questions about if your home is set up safely against crime, police can do assessments at your property.

“Stopping crime from occurring before it does is obviously the best thing a police officer can do, so this has allowed us to do that in many ways,” Vest said.

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