‘We shouldn’t have to feel unsafe’: Needles, trash pile up in some Myrtle Beach yards

Used needles, makeshift drug containers and towels used as sanitary cleaners are some of the trash constantly found in the yards of one Myrtle Beach block.

“This is every day,” said Mike Shelton, who lives along 6th Avenue North and Kings Highway.

He spoke as he poked at the pile of trash he picked up one day this week. There were five needles — though Shelton said there were more than a dozen before he stepped away and someone took several. Soda cans were cut into smoking devices. Food wrappers, shoes, clothing, liquor bottles are just some of the items he had to remove from his property.

There has been an issue with people leaving their trash and engaging in criminal activity since Shelton moved into his home five years ago. He said he has seen drug deals and drug use, people sleeping along his fence line and other criminal activity.

Sometimes 15-20 people congregate in the area, Shelton said. He added that he sometimes confronts the groups asking them to leave, or at least not leave their trash, only to be threatened.

Shelton estimated he has called the police more than 50 times in the past five years — sometimes multiple times a night. While he didn’t want to fault the police nor their work, he said he didn’t know where else to turn to expose the problem.

“We shouldn’t have to feel unsafe, right here in our own home,” Shelton said.

According to Myrtle Beach online records, officers made 24 separate arrests on 6th Avenue North in the previous 30 days.

Manny Melvin lives in Shelton’s home and helps care for Shelton’s father-in-law. He also picks up trash along all the houses on 6th Avenue North about two blocks from the beach. Every other day there is enough trash in the yard where it has to be collected and disposed of, Melvin said.

When he picks up the trash it’s usually the same type of items, though occasionally there are items taken from hotel disposed of as well.

While it can get disheartening constantly removing the trash, Melvin asked what other option exists.

Shelton said the issues have become so bad he doesn’t let his family walk to the beach alone. There are also children that ride bikes in the area. Even with the trash, Shelton said he has no plans to leave.

“I love this house,” Shelton said. “I want to be in Myrtle Beach.”

Alex Lang is the True Crime reporter for The Sun News covering the legal system and how crime impacts local residents. He says letting residents know if they are safe is a vital role of a newspaper. Alex has covered crime in Detroit, Iowa, New York City, West Virginia and now Horry County.