Myrtle Beach Bike Rallies

Myrtle Beach police arrest, cite 300 fewer people during 2015 Memorial Day weekend

A group of bicycle officers ride north on Ocean Boulevard as traffic moves slowly south Friday evening as the Atlantic Beach Bikefest gets underway.
A group of bicycle officers ride north on Ocean Boulevard as traffic moves slowly south Friday evening as the Atlantic Beach Bikefest gets underway. cslate@thesunnews.com

Myrtle Beach police arrested or cited about 300 fewer people this year during Memorial Day weekend than 2014, according to statistics released Friday. Horry County police issued 173 more warnings this year, but cited about the same number of people.

Myrtle Beach police responded to 4,106 calls for service from May 21 to 25, which is 61 calls higher than 2014. Police arrested 809 individuals this year, which is almost 300 less than 2014.

About 1,049 charges and citations were filed, about 400 more than last year, according to the statistics. Citations can include noise violations, traffic violations and disorderly conduct.

Lt. Joey Crosby, Myrtle Beach police spokesman, said many factors contributed to this year’s decreased crime numbers, including increased police presence and community relationships.

“We worked very hard to develop the operational plan for this year,” Crosby said. “It wasn’t just one component that made it a success, it was all our plans together.”

Weapons offenses dropped from 23 to six this year, a feat that makes Myrtle Beach police proud.

“We worked really hard to make everything much safer for the community this year, and the reduced weapons offenses points to our success” Crosby said.

There were nine serious assaults and attempted murders, the same number as last year.

There were no homicides this year, as opposed to last year when three people were killed and seven injured in eight shootings along Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach.

“There’s no specific reason for the number of attempted murders, but homicides are down considerably this year,” Crosby said. “That’s one of those things we worked really hard on.”

Leaders spent the past year coming up with a plan for Memorial Day weekend that included more officers, a 23-mile traffic loop and barricades along Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach that separated pedestrians from vehicle traffic.

Police overtime was up more than 1,700 hours since officers started the operational safety plan Thursday, unlike last year. The extra day – which continued to Monday afternoon – contributed to the extra time, Crosby said.

Police recovered 44 stolen motorcycles this year, partly due to a detail crew assigned to motorcycle thefts, Crosby said. Last year Myrtle Beach police recovered 18 bikes.

Crosby said coordination between Horry County and Myrtle Beach agencies resulted in an operational plan that led to a safer Memorial Day weekend. The traffic loop, community communication, enforcement and help from various agencies were all factors in this year’s reduced statistics.

“It was a good, well put together and effective plan which achieved all our goals,” Crosby said.

Horry County agencies responded to fewer calls for service this year than 2014, but issued 173 more warnings. The number of citations increased by 16 this year, according to statistics released earlier this week.

Horry County agencies – except for Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach police and fire – responded to 4,106 calls for service from May 21-25, according to Lisa Bourcier, county public information director. Last year 4,301 calls were received during the same Memorial Day period, she said.

The agencies dispatched by Horry County E911 include Atlantic Beach, Aynor, Briarcliffe Acres, Conway police, Loris police, Horry County police, Sheriff’s Office and Drug Enforcement Unit, Conway Fire, Surfside Beach Fire, Loris fire and Horry County Fire/Rescue.

Area agencies also responded to 66 motorcycle crashes during the holiday weekend, Bourcier said.

Horry County police issued 322 warnings and 220 courtesy citations during Bikefest, Bourcier said. County police made 39 arrests and collected $68,428 in fines. The county said arrest numbers for Memorial Day weekend last year were not available Friday. According to Lt. Raul Denis with Horry County Police, those numbers weren’t available because they weren't separately counted last year.

More than $14,000 in fines stemmed from driving under suspension charges, according to county records. About $12,000 in fines were from speeding charges.

Last year, Horry County police issued 143 warnings and 204 citations, collecting $36,443 in fines, according to statistics.

There were two calls this year for gunshots heard. The first one resulted in the arrest of Craig Tallambadge Williams, who was charged with attempted murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime, for the shooting of another man on the ninth floor of Compass Cove, 2311 S. Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach on Saturday night. On Sunday, there was another call for shots fired at Compass Cove, but no one was hurt.

Contact CLAIRE BYUN at 626-0377 or on Twitter @Claire_TSN.

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