Local law enforcement continues to patrol all areas of the county and remind citizens to report any suspicious activity as Category 2 Hurricane Florence approaches the Myrtle Beach coast.
Capt. John Harrelson with Horry County Police Department said folks should not hesitate to call the police if they see suspicious people knocking on doors and wandering around properties that have been evacuated. Harrelson said the department has more officers patrolling than average due to the storm.
As tropical-force winds hit the Grand Strand this evening, Harrelson said people should stay off roads until officials can assess the damage.
“Stay off the roadway as much as possible,” he said. “As soon as you notice conditions deteriorate, get off the roads. We want everyone to be safe and stay put.”
Harrelson said those who have not evacuated are still welcome at shelters if they do not want to ride the storm out at home.
Horry County police will continue to patrol until winds reach 40 mph, and after that, officers will shelter in place.
Myrtle Beach roads were clear Thursday morning. On a usual day in the city, stoplights are backed up and cars line the roads. But today, you pass an occasional car on U.S. 17 Bypass, Kings Highway and Ocean Boulevard.
Myrtle Beach police officers will patrol all areas until it becomes unsafe, said Cpl. Thomas Vest with Myrtle Beach Police Department.
“We have everybody out and are just looking for things that look suspicious,” Vest told The Sun News on Thursday morning.
“We are out making sure everyone’s properties are secure,” he said, adding many people have evacuated from the city.
On Thursday morning, there was only one person booked at Myrtle Beach’s jail, compared to inmate numbers in the double digits on average days. J. Reuben Long Detention Center had less than 10 inmates.
Police would not comment about the decrease in arrests, saying it would be speculation. But officials still remind the public that if a person is suspected of a crime, he or she will be arrested, even as the storm pushes through.
The non-emergency number for Horry County Police Department is 843-248-1300 and for Myrtle Beach Police Department, 843-918-1300.
Hannah Strong: 843-444-1765; @HannahLStrong