The numbers of crimes (violent, property) are excessively high compare to the national average statistics were provided by United States Census Bureau. Question: do these numbers really represent realistically to your neighborhood?
Answer from Leo:
The question you're really asking is, "Is Myrtle Beach safe enough that I'll feel comfortable living here?" The answer is a very decided YES.
When we first moved here 18 months ago, we started reading the newspaper (online: www.thesunnews.com) on a regular basis. Living in a resort location skews criminal statistics because of the transient nature and large numbers of some of the petty criminals that frequent the place. Remember, we have in excess of 14 million people stop by for a cup of coffee every year. Statistically, if even a fraction of 1% of those people are shady characters, you'll have your share of issues to deal with. However, if you account for that appropriately I don't believe the crime statistics are that far out of line with what you may find in similar sized communities that are not resort-driven.
So sure, if you read the paper every day and you try to compare it to the statistics in say, Xenia, Ohio, then sure, you may walk away thinking we live in a cesspool of crime. In reality most of the crime is either petty or, when it is violent, tends to be domestic in nature or at least violence perpetrated on known individuals. In other words it's not random.
It's important to keep this in mind, too. In crimes that don't have an immediate "solution", the local law enforcement organizations are VERY competent and amazingly successful in "getting their man (or woman)". There have been countless occasions where some perp is at-large on a Tuesday and by Thursday the newspaper is reporting that he's behind bars eating his moldy bread and drinking his dank water. And trust me, some of these crimes have very little evidence to go on when first reported so tracking down these clowns is not easy. Even at that kind of disadvantage the city and county detectives are extremely efficient. I've read a crime story in the newspaper to Charlotte and finished by saying, "They'll have this guy in cuffs by the end of the week." I'm hardly ever wrong.
The bottom line is this -- I've never for one second felt uncomfortable living here. Even in areas that Patrish professes some degree of fear I don't think it's quite as bad as the reputation may suggest. Clearly there are some areas to avoid at some times of the night but you're going to get that in ANY city or town of nearly any size. Just use common sense. But if you're worried about your safety in your neighborhood or while you're shopping at the local retail center, mall, or business park, you're wasting your emotional cycles. There is absolutely no need to be anything but completely at ease while living here.
Why are crime statistics so high in Myrtle Beach?
Answer from Mike:
Myrtle Beach does have a higher-than-average crime rate due to its location and the large number of transients during the summer season. Therefore, it is NOT a very good comparison based on RELATIVE factors to most US cities, as it's rankings/ratings doe not reflect these factors. Most rating agencies and organizations refuse to adjust or clarify their results, despite the continued objections of local officials. The results are especially skewed by vehicle thefts (typical of a focused, seasonal tourist spot), and assaults/robberies - many of which are the result of naive drug-buying attempts or related to certain youth-oriented clubs (not the teen-oriented ones, but mostly the 20-something crowd) that have been recently closed by the city in a major crackdown in clubs taking responsibility for events that occur on their premises. Also, a significant number of persons seem to claim theft/loss of certain valuables while on vacation here in "questionable" insurance claims. Hard to prove, but the "suspicious" indications are often there.
Bottom line: most persons experiencing crime effects are not the typical tourist, but folks that have engaged in conduct or lax behavior that made them vulnerable. Fairly often, tourists will drop normal safety and security precautions during vacation. Therefore, be sure to lock your vehicle, secure your valuables, be aware of your surroundings, etc as you usually would and any concerns are minimized.
Another question for Mike
Even though Myrtle Beach has the transient population that contributes to the high crime rate, I am surprised to see that the crime rate is almost double what it is in New York City. NY has a lot of tourists and people coming and going, but people have the stereotype that it's Crime City.
As I specified above, the crime rate is skewed by certain factors that aren't considered relative to other areas. Very few persons affected by any crime in the area are typical tourists that exercise normal precautions. Certain events - such as concentrated youth-oriented visitation periods - (Spring Break, the "Senior Weeks" from early to mid June, Memorial Day Weekend, etc) tend to contribute greatly to those skewed numbers. It is a relatively low crime area if you remove those periods. However, these rates will most likely fall significantly because of several proactive measures initiated recently by the City of Myrtle Beach (and some other Grand Strand municipalities). Any night club that has repeat unresolved problems will be closed down (4 major ones already have been). Myrtle Beach now has specialized "Night Operations" teams of uniformed and undercover officers that detect, prevent, and react to crime in ALL areas of the city (they've been quite effective; I have frequent contact and perform occasional joint operations with them). Myrtle Beach also purchased new, more mobile and versatile electric cars to replace the previous golf carts used in the Ocean Blvd area. Bicycle patrols have increased in numbers, training, and coverage areas. Motorcycles patrol and police dog units and personnel have almost doubled. North Myrtle Beach does have a lower crime rate, but this is primarily because of less concentration of people, overall activity, and venues that can contribute to crime.
Other topics concerning area crime:
Crime Rates for Myrtle Beach
City Rating for crime in Myrtle Beach
City of Myrtle Beach Police Department
Horry County CSI (Crime Scene Investigations)
Georgetown County Sheriff's Office
South Carolina Crime Rates