NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – After some complaints, law enforcement officers in North Myrtle Beach are turning their attention to large groups partying on the sand.
“Our beach patrol, they have their hands full down on the beach,” said North Myrtle Beach Police Chief, Phil Webster.
Several groups from different colleges have been on the beach and those who live in North Myrtle Beach are concerned about the trash the visitors are leaving behind.
“We’re just doing a little end of the year celebration,” said Caitlin Harkins from West Chester University.
While residents from the area aren’t opposed to the college students and recent graduates having a good time, it’s the mess that remains once the sun goes down that’s bothersome.
“They were having a good time, and I’m all for that. Blow off some steam after school lets out,” says North Myrtle Beach resident Misty Elmore. “All of the trash and clothes and towels and cups and bottles were still there and we were just amazed.”
Elmore says what she saw left on the sand Tuesday after the partying ended left her in amazement that a group of people could be so careless. She posted a photo of the mess to Facebook.
“That was just so over the top, that I just, I thought, you know, these kids need to learn to be responsible for their actions adn the consequences of those actions, so I thought, ‘Well, I’ll post it on Facebook.'”
Chief Webster says there’s no question the beach patrol units are busy during the summer, so they try to partner with the sanitation department to make it easier for beachgoers to handle their trash.
“We work with sanitation and they actually bring down more trash cans, especially in those areas where we know they’re going to congregate,” Webster says. “But it seems that the trash doesn’t make it into the can so that’s the problem we have.”
“Soon after the photos were taken, the Beach Patrol, as it normally does, had the students pick up their trash. The beach is also cleaned by public works thoroughly each morning,” said city spokesman, Pat Dowling.
According to online records, NMBPD has arrested some people for littering but most arrests this month have been for public disorderly conduct.
“We try to use a philosophy of educate, warn, and then cite. A citation or arrest is the last thing we want to do,” Webster. explains “We have to stay on top of disorder crime.”
Chief Webster said the out-of-state groups are not the only ones who litter. “There’s locals that litter too.”
One of the issues the department has right now is a large amount of students on the beach combined with the litter and alcohol problems.
“If our beach patrol and our guards have to be worrying about drinking and litter, that takes away their concentration from the water, which is where they need to be focused especially this time of year because you know their numbers are thin,” said Chief Webster.
There are five beach patrol officers but the full lifeguard staff in North Myrtle Beach doesn’t start until after Memorial Day.
Chief Webster encourages anyone to call the department if they see issues on the beach.
“Generally speaking, the students who come to North Myrtle Beach to celebrate their graduations are nice people who require some guidance now and then. We are glad to have them,” added Dowling.