MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - We're only two weeks into 2013 and the Grand Strand has already experienced a large number of homicides, robberies and other serious crimes.
"With a crime rate of 167 per one thousand residents, Myrtle Beach has one of the highest crime rates in America compared to all communities of all sizes- from the smallest towns to the very largest cities," NeighborhoodScout explains.
Myrtle Beach comes in at number 21 on the list of the most dangerous cities. While Atlanta, Baltimore, Cleveland, Chicago and Paterson fall much higher on the list.
"When I drive up here in the mornings, I just hope I'm not going to be broken into," said Deborah Watson. Watson owns Headz and Toez, a hair salon next to Pizza Shak, which was robbed early Wednesday morning.
"You cannot jurisdict the morals of what's right or wrong!" she said.
Out of a crime index with 100 being the safest, Myrtle Beach holds a 0, making it safer than 0 percent of other U.S. cities. Even more alarming is NeighborhoodScout's statistic that while living in Myrtle Beach there is a 1 in 7 chance that you will become a victim of a property crime such as burglary or motor vehicle theft.
"With a population of 27,820, Myrtle Beach has a combined rate of violent and property crime that is very high compared to other places similar in population size," the location-based data site notes.
But some people suspect the crime statistics in Myrtle Beach are inflated because of the high number of tourists that visit during warmer months.
"That study doesn't take into account all the motels and people that fill up Myrtle Beach," said frequent visitor Phil Brown.
Before placing cities on the "Top 100 Most Dangerous Cities in the U.S." list, NeighborhoodScout compiles crime reports from all agencies in the city, revealing which cities have the highest rates of violent crime. After determining the total number of crimes reported they divide them by the population of the city, divided by 1,000 to establish a violent crime rate per 1,000 population.
Since NeighborhoodScout looks at the number of crimes per 1,000 residents they divided Myrtle Beach's population of 27,820 by 1,000 to get 27.82. The total number of crimes reported in the city, 4,633, is then divided by 27.82, revealing 166.54 annual crimes per 1,000 Myrtle Beach residents.
The crimes NeighborhoodScout looks for when compiling this data include forcible rape, murder and non-negligent manslaughter, armed robbery, aggravated assault, assault with a deadly weapon, burglary, larceny over $50, motor vehicle theft and arson.
Myrtle Beach isn't new to this top 100 list. In 2012, Myrtle Beach was ranked number 15 on the infamous list.
The website also outlines some of the safer areas of Myrtle Beach. Carolina Forest, Hwy. 17 in the Coventry area, Queensway Boulevard, Holmestown Road, Jaluco, Hwy. 17 and Glenns Bay Road, Route 814 and Hwy. 544, the area of Moorland Drive and Legends Road and Socastee as well as Hwy. 17 and Jason Boulevard are all listed as the safest neighborhoods in Myrtle Beach.