Ocean Blvd businesses say barricades will deter customers, do little for safety

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – The City of Myrtle Beach has placed barricades along Ocean Boulevard to help prevent the sort of violence that occurred last weekend. However, several businesses in the area are not happy about the addition.

The barricades are set up from 17th Avenue South to 7th Avenue North, 8th to 9th Avenue North, and 12th to 16th Avenue North. City employees placed them there Thursday morning.

Business owners along that stretch feel the barricades will deter customers. “It looks like jail bars going all the way down the sidewalk,” said Alex Robinson, manager of Pacific Beachwear on 4th Avenue South and Ocean Boulevard. Though these barricades are meant to keep people safe, Robinson says they’re making his customers concerned. “Everybody asks about it. I tell them it’s something the city did to make them ‘safer’. And it doesn’t do anything for safety,” he said.

Robinson says the store takes a serious hit when the city puts up barricades for Memorial Day weekend. Now he and other businesses on the boulevard are worried the same will happen this summer. “July 4th is coming up. It’s one of our biggest weekends of the year. And it’s certainly going to affect us in a negative way, for sure.”

Myrtle Beach Police Spokesperson Lt. Joey Crosby says he understands these concerns, but says the barricades have been effective in the past and are necessary after last weekend. “We have to keep the pedestrian traffic flowing. So the utilization of these barricades is to ensure that pedestrians stay on the sidewalks and do not get on the roadway and cause an incident or create a scene,” said Lt. Crosby. However, Robinson wonders why the city isn’t taking the same action in other parts of the city. “There was a shooting by the mall. There’s no barricades there,” he said.

The Chamber of Commerce encourages businesses to protect themselves by connecting their security cameras to the city’s security system. Though Robinson is in favor of working with police, he says he’s not sure about giving access to the stores’ security cams. “I can’t say whether I’m a proponent of it or not because I don’t know the laws surrounding it. You’re talking about taking something that’s private property, private domain and allowing the government to oversee it. “

The city has installed the barricades on a trial basis and will decide when to take them down at a later date.