Crime has decreased in the city of Myrtle Beach since last year, Myrtle Beach Police Chief Amy Prock said.
According to Prock, the number of Part 1 crimes — aggravated assaults, robberies, homicides and rape offenses — has decreased by more than 21 percent since 2017.
With a newly implemented police plan passed in December, and a focus on communication, Prock attributes the drop to changes made within the department.
“We’re very happy with (the decrease in crimes) and we believe we can attribute that to several different things,” Prock said during this week’s city council retreat.
According to documents, there were 3,038 Part 1 crimes reported in 2018, compared to 3,869 in 2017.
So far this year, police have responded to three homicides in city limits, the same number as last year.
In January, police responded to the Beachcomber Inn at 1405 S. Ocean Blvd. in reference to a deceased person.
The Horry County Coroner’s Office later identified the victim as Colee Muirhead of Myrtle Beach. Police identified Chandler Ari Dunmeyer, 19, a former U.S. Army Airborne’s 82nd Division out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, as a suspect, and arrested him.
In August, Dunmeyer was found dead in his mother’s Summerville area home from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Dorchester County Coroner Paul Brouthers said.
In June, two people were arrested after a 24-year-old was shot and killed in a bathroom off Ocean Boulevard, police said. Sylvester Bellamy, of Georgetown, was later identified as the victim.
The incident occurred just blocks from the ongoing Carolina Country Music Festival.
When officers arrived to the scene, they found the victim on the ground with a gunshot wound.
Terence Isacc Blackwell and Earl Rafel Gaddis, Jr. were charged in relation to the incident.
Earlier this month, Roger Ramos, 25, was shot and killed at Riptydz, a Myrtle Beach restaurant and bar. Myrtle Beach police arrested Jakkari Jaquille De’Andre Brown, 24, of Tocca, Georgia.
Aggravated assault and larcenies
For the third year in a row, larcenies are the highest reported crime in city limits.
According to Prock, police were called to about 2,160 larcenies, which is down from about 2,960 in 2017.
Aggravated assault was the second highest reported crime from January through September, coming in behind larcenies. An aggravated assault is an attack on another person using a weapon or showing it in a threatening way.
In 2018, 185 aggravated assaults were reported, compared to 194 in the same time frame in 2017.
The downtown area
In a newly created Ocean Boulevard overlay district — which prohibits smoke shops, cannabis products, alternative nicotine, vapor products, e-cigarettes and tobacco — six violent crimes were reported so far this year.
The district runs from 16th Avenue North to 6th Avenue South. This study excludes Kings Highway.
According to documents, two homicides, two robberies and two aggravated assaults were reported in the area. Last year, 29 violent crimes were reported between June and August.
This year, 120 property crimes — arsons, burglaries, larcenies, motor vehicle crimes and human trafficking — were reported in the overlay district, compared to 140 property crimes reported in 2017.
Moving forward, Prock said she plans to stick with the seven-year staffing plan, which brings 10 new officers onto the force over the course of seven years. Shortly after that plan was presented, Prock proposed a pay raise for current officers to help with retention in the department.
“The retention and recruitment plan is working,” Prock said.
Prock said the department will also continue to use technology, including cameras and license plate readers, and maintain a focus on violent crime reduction.
“I’m excited about the changes we made. I’m excited about the success,” Prock said.