Myrtle Beach leaders will spend ‘whatever it takes’ to keep people safe

(Photo Source: City of Myrtle Beach)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – The City of Myrtle Beach says it’s willing to spend whatever it takes to keep people safe after recent violence sparked national attention and created fear among people who live in the coastal city.

Lt. Joey Crosby with Myrtle Beach Police says there were about 70 officers patrolling Ocean Boulevard this weekend from different agencies. With no major problems, he says the additional officers worked.

“This plan was implemented to ensure the safety of our citizens and our guests and to let those that think about committing those criminal acts know that this is not going to be tolerated. You will be apprehended and you will be held accountable for those actions,” said Crosby.

It’s a pricey option for the city, but Myrtle Beach City Manager John Pedersen says it’s worth it.

“They (council) want to do whatever it takes to keep our citizens and our guests safe in the downtown area and throughout the city,” said Pedersen.

Crosby says the city is paying officers from outside agencies $50 per day, putting them up in a hotel room, and any additional overtime money when they come to help patrol.

Pedersen says the city already put aside $150,000 to pay those officers, but that they’ll likely exceed that amount.

“We’re going to have to wait to see exactly what this is going to cost. To some degree, it’s going to be a mix of state resources that we’re going to be able to bring in and local resources,” said Pedersen.

Pedersen says additional funds are available because city council voted in this year’s budget to put $1 million towards public safety, and that the city is willing to spend whatever it takes to keep people safe.

“Any violence is unacceptable. It’s probably not obtainable that we never have any, but certainly that’s our goal,” said Pedersen.

The city is also working in other ways to combat the violence. Tuesday, city council passed the first reading of an ordinance to extend the curfew for people under the age of 18.

Under the new ordinance, the curfew would be from 12 a.m. to 6 a.m.

Council leaders discussed the fact that the curfew is one of the tools for police to help combat the recent violence.

“That does give us the right to ask some of the folks that appear to be underage to basically show us that they have a right to be down there at that point in time. I think that’s going to have a chilling effect on some of the young folks that come here that feel like they can stay out all night and the later they stay out, the more trouble they seem to get into,” said Pedersen.

Anyone who violates the curfew will be cited with a misdemeanor and could face either a $500 fine or 30 days in jail.