Myrtle Beach police requests crime unit to monitor city, business cameras

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Myrtle Beach Police want to form a real time crime unit, and they’re asking for city council’s help to make it happen.

Myrtle Beach Police Chief Warren Gall says the department needs two officers to man the new program, which would oversee the city’s 788 surveillance cameras placed in different locations throughout Myrtle Beach.

Chief Gall says creating a real time crime unit would allow officers to be proactive in potentially dangerous or criminal activity, as opposed to reacting to something after the fact. He adds this program is modeled after other major cities – like Atlanta and Charlotte – that have already launched similar crime units.

One of the main goals with the new crime unit is to get businesses involved in the camera monitoring process. Asking hotels and businesses to partner with police through security cameras those facilities already have in place would help officers respond better to the frequent calls they receive from the businesses.

“We’ve been working with some of the larger ones like Broadway at the Beach and Coastal Grand Mall and some of the other major businesses like the Walmarts and such,” explains Gall. “We would like to be able to have those feeds directly into our police department because of the number of calls for service that we have there.”

The last aspect of the crime unit, says Chief Gall, is to ask homeowners who have security systems to help officers out with controlling crime.

“We’re not asking them to put their feed into the police department,” explains Gall. “We’d just like to know where the cameras are so when we have a crime, we’ll know who we can go to, who’s going to cooperate, who’s agreeing to ‘yes, you can have whatever footage I have.’”

In order for the Myrtle Beach Real Time Crime Unit to happen, it will have to be funded by Myrtle Beach City Council, and Gall says that funding, if approved, wouldn’t start until July 1.