City leaders hope to cut down on crime and homelessness to make Myrtle Beach more family friendly in 2017

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Myrtle Beach city leaders passed several ordinances this year that, they say, will help make the city more family friendly.

David Sebok is the Executive Director of the Myrtle Beach Downtown Revitalization Corporation, and he’s worked endlessly with city leaders to help with the new vision of the city this year.

“We do not want to be known as the place that’s unsafe to live and work or play,” said Sebok.

This year, the city passed ordinances that allowed them to shut down businesses littered by crime or where owners didn’t clean up their trash around their businesses.

“People are being held accountable for their property and their businesses both the maintenance of them and the operation of them,” said Sebok.

It’s all been part of the push to make the city more appealing to families, and moving forward to next year, city leaders want to improve on that even more.

“It’s not that we’re against people having a good time. We’re just against them doing the wrong things, illegal activities,” said Sebok.

We spoke with City Manager John Pederson in June when the city made plans to tear down old motels after tourists complained about homeless people living in them.

“The idea is to clean those properties up so that those places won’t be there and won’t attract some of the negative elements that we’ve had complaints about,” said Pederson.

That demolition was done, but the city still deals with the homeless problem downtown.

“Tourist do not come here to be on vacation, to walk the boardwalk, to be in Plyler Park, or be on the beach to come into contact or feel uncomfortable around homeless people, whether they’re good people or bad people,” said Sebok.

Sebok says the city will work with social services and police to combat the homeless problem in 2017.

“You can’t necessarily prevent crime, but you create an environment where it is less likely to occur, and that’s what the city is working to do.  Creating an environment and awareness by the businesses, by the property owners, by the residents, and our visitors that you know just be aware,” said Sebok.

Sebok says violence nor homelessness are unique to Myrtle Beach, but because the economy is driven by tourist, city leaders have to look at ways to help combat the problems to make people want to visit.