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A year in review: What crimes did the Myrtle Beach PD respond to in 2017?

The Sun News file photo
The Sun News file photo jbell@thesunnews.com

Myrtle Beach Police Chief Amy Prock released crime statistics from 2017, with much of the focus surrounding the types of crimes officers responded to.

While much of the attention last year centered around the Ocean Boulevard shooting that left several people injured and was livestreamed on Facebook for millions to view, the department responded to nearly 130,000 calls for service.

Of those calls the majority were based around aggravated assault, arson, burglary, motor vehicle theft, homicide, rape offenses, robbery and larceny.

Larceny

Larceny was the highest crime in 2017, with officers responding to 3,633 incidents.

Over the past five years, 2017 was the second-highest year for the crime, with the highest being in 2014.

"Number one, you have retail theft," Capt. Joey Crosby, Myrtle Beach police public information officer, said. "So it's theft from retail establishments such as shoplifting and then also burglary autos.

"We're doing educational campaigns to where we're trying to advice to public to not leave their personal belongings inside a car, and to lock their vehicles. So it's important for them to make sure their valuables are secure in the trunk or kept inside their residence, and to also lock their cars."

Homicide

Last year, the department reported three homicides, the lowest the number has been since 2013, when there were two.

"I think that's the overall initiative that you're seeing with the different officers on the roadway, the increased relations and partnerships that we developed with our community," Crosby said. "You've seen things such as us having the forums for gangs, for gun violence, domestic violence. Programs where we're involved with the kids playing football, basketball.

"So there's a lot of activities that we're doing with the partnerships and the relationships with our communities."

Officials responded to the first homicide in January, when a 33-year-old Myrtle Beach man was shot and killed at the downtown Myrtle Beach Lazy G Motel.

Officers responded to the area in reference to the shooting, Crosby told The Sun News at the time. Rashad Atkins was identified as the victim by the Horry County Coroner's Office.

In September, 19-year-old Ladasha Harriett and her 22-year-old boyfriend Daquan Jamal Simmons were each charged with homicide by child abuse after an 11-month-old went missing.

Police said they found what they believed to be the remains of the baby after the baby had reportedly not been seen since July.

Shortly after, a pregnant woman died from gunshot wounds in a shooting on Spivey Avenue in Myrtle Beach, police said.

The woman's baby was delivered after the shooting but did not survive, Michelle McSpadden, with the Horry County Coroner's Office, said at the time.

However, officer-involved shootings left two people dead in September.

The first one happened on Sept. 3 in the area of the Mystic Sea Motel at the corner of 21st Avenue South and Ocean Boulevard. Police responded to calls about an "erratic" driver, authorities said.

Jarvis Hayes, 31, of Greensboro, N.C., was injured when policed fired at him after officials said he backed his vehicle toward them and struck one of the officers, police said. Hayes later died from multiple traumas from the shooting, a report from the coroner said.

Later that month an armed man was shot and killed by Myrtle Beach police, making it the second officer-involved shooting that month.

Officers were called to the area of Spivey Park and Collins Street after getting reports of a "suspicious person" in the area, Crosby said at the time.

Officers saw the man was armed and as police interacted with him he allegedly pointed his gun at them, Crosby said. Crosby said authorities then fired.

Rape

Last year, the Myrtle Beach Police Department reported 59 rapes, the highest the number has been in five years.

Moving forward, Crosby said the implementation of real-time crime units will help stop these types of crimes as well as "power shifts," which run from 3 p.m. to 3 a.m., when crime peaks in the city.

"You deploy the officers to the street and have additional officers on the roadways, increasing your visibility, your direction patrols and address and saturate those areas," Crosby said.

Moving forward

In October, Prock announced a 10-year plan that would add seven new officers to various divisions in the department each year.

The divisions include patrol, special operations for traffic and marine units, investigative division for crime scene units, a support services division that aims to support officers on the street, an administrative division, which consists of non-sworn in officers, and a “power shift” team.

The second part of the plan involved retention, announced in early January, calling for a pay raise for police officers, both certified and un-certified, including dispatchers.

The plan implements an automatic 1.75-percent market increase for all sworn officers and dispatchers, plus a 3 percent merit increase and a market rate salary adjustment of 5 percent, which will begin on Jan. 12.

These increases mean that new hires who are not certified would receive $40,000 starting salary, and new hires who are certified would start with a $44,000 salary.

"I think the biggest thing here is the development and strengthening of partnerships that we have with our community," Crosby said. "The building of that trust and communication. You've seen Chief Prock had various business outreach meetings. We've always had the neighborhood watch meetings, we had a meeting several weeks ago with some business owners along Ocean Boulevard to discuss our strategies for the summer.

"So you're seeing a major push by Chief Prock to ensure that we're communicating with our public, that if the public has any questions or concerns they have someone in the law enforcement community they can reach out and talk to instead of just not feeling comfortable having a question answered."

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