Myrtle Beach was named in three “Most Dangerous Cities” reports from 2018, but the city says it’s “misleading information” and part of a marketing scheme for safety companies.
The city is reportedly the most crime-ridden city in South Carolina, followed by Spartanburg, Greenwood and Beaufort, according to the National Council for Home Safety and Security, a trade association focused on home security.
The report ranks Myrtle Beach the 33rd most dangerous out of 100 cities, as the trade association cited 1,566 violent crimes per 100,000 people. The FBI considers murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault all violent crimes.
Myrtle Beach’s population is just under 33,000, according to statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau. But the report says a high population does not indicate that a city will have a high violent crime rate.
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“Many of these smaller communities have violent crime rates similar to the most dangerous neighborhoods of the larger cities they are adjacent to, and in many cases, they border these neighborhoods,” the report states. “The difference is that the larger cities also have more affluent, low crime areas that lower their overall violent crime rates, while their smaller satellite cities do not.”
Mark Kruea, spokesman for the City of Myrtle Beach, said the city often lands on “most dangerous” lists because its “low permanent population skews the results.”
“The FBI provides per capita crime statistics based on permanent population,” Kruea said via email. “Obviously, our average daily population is much greater than 100,000, but because our Census population is so small, it dramatically skews the numbers. Other cities with lots of tourism have their numbers skewed, too, but ours is especially noticeable since our permanent population is so small.
“The FBI knows this and even puts a disclaimer out with its numbers, but the web sites that promote this ‘fear factor’ as part of their marketing conveniently ignore this caution.”
Kruea added the reports are “misleading information” promoted by companies as a marketing tool for their services.
Where Myrtle Beach ranks on other reports
SafeWise also named Myrtle Beach one of 2018’s most dangerous cities in the country. In the security website’s “50 Most Dangerous Cities in America” report, the city ranks 32nd with 16.88 violent crimes per 1,000 people and 137.93 property crimes per 1,000 people.
In 2017, SafeWise ranked Myrtle Beach the third most dangerous city, which received criticism because the numbers are based on the FBI’s crime statistics on a per capita basis. Officials previously said it takes into account the number of residents in Myrtle Beach, but not the millions of tourists who visit every year.
Location analytics company Neighborhood Scout ranks the city 13th on its “Top 100 Most Dangerous Cities in the U.S.” report, basing the numbers on data from the FBI as well.
“Once we have this complete and accurate count of crimes for every city in the nation, our analysis takes the violent crimes for each city with 25,000 or more people, and divides them by the population of the city, divided by 1,000,” the company writes. “This establishes a violent crime rate per 1,000 population that is used to compare every city.
The report adds that you have a 1-in-60 chance of becoming a victim of a violent crime and a 1-in-7 chance of becoming a victim of a property crime in Myrtle Beach.
Michaela Broyles: 843-626-0281, @MichaelaBroyles