Palmetto Pride hosts training for crime prevention throughout communities

Published: Oct. 26, 2022 at 9:21 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Deterring crime could be as simple as changing a burned-out light bulb or trimming a hedge.

Leaving these tasks undone could attract unwanted attention without evening knowing, but there are ways residents and businesses can learn the best ways to prevent crime from finding them.

Palmetto Pride hosted the “Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design” training session for neighbors, law enforcement, and business owners.

Chris Ballatore works in the zoning department for the City of Myrtle Beach.

He’s learned it’s little things like maintaining bushes at jobs or at home that can prevent potential crimes throughout the area.

“Helping the city to maintain and clean up those properties that aren’t being well maintained with overgrown vegetation and that just helps with all the visitors that we get here in the city to make them feel safe, their families, their kids, and anybody that comes here and visits,” said Ballatore.

During the class session, students learned that landscaping, architecture, lighting throughout the community, and other public common areas may be overlooked when it comes to safety.

Esther Wagner is the Education & Awareness Program Manager of Palmetto Pride. As the instructor of the class, she said criminals are always looking for the right time for opportunity.

“Psychologically, we interact with our surroundings,” said Wagner. “Criminals look for or any kind of inappropriate actor looks for certain things in a setting to determine whether they’re going to act or not. So, they want an area where it’s clear that no one is defending that space.”

Take a picnic table for example - Although it belongs to a nearby business, Wagner said leaving it on the side of a building with no clear view of customers can lead to potential crime and prompt criminals to several questions before an incident.

“Will I be seen? Can I get in and out? And does anyone care what happens here?” said Wagner

Throughout the training, Ballatore said it not only goes back to being aware of your surroundings, but it can start at home.

“And just keeping your property well maintained,” he said. “Really it all comes down to that, It can carry along, a long way,” said Ballatore.

The free training is open to the public at The Myrtle Beach Police Department Annex in Market Common.

The training will continue from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday.