By Paul Gable
Two different shooting incidents in Longs over the weekend again highlighted the need for a comprehensive plan to combat community violence in Horry County.
Horry County police have responded to numerous shooting incidents in the Longs community over the past year.
But, it isn’t just the Longs community that is suffering from this type of violence. Conway, Myrtle Beach, Loris, Carolina Forest and Socastee, to name a few, have also suffered from shooting incidents in their neighborhoods.
Horry County Public Safety Committee chairman Al Allen appointed a special Community Violence Subcommittee to investigate violence in our communities last spring.
At the time, Allen charged subcommittee members to identify the causes and influences that lead to violence in the community as well as visit with all public, private and church groups presently operating to reduce violence and crime in Horry County to rank their effectiveness.
To date, the subcommittee has been stuck with comparing Horry County crime statistics to similar counties in four other states. There has been no effort by committee members to have meetings with community leaders throughout the county as of yet.
Community violence is not a problem that can be cured just with policing and suppression. The root causes and solutions require efforts from parents, students, teachers, preachers and other community leaders to combat.
As one community leader has stated on numerous occasions, it takes a collaborative, coordinated, communicative effort from all segments of the population to combat the causes and find the solutions for violence in our communities.
We have recently seen additional efforts to combat a rising heroin epidemic in Horry County. A significant drug bust occurred in the Little River area within the past 10 days.
This is good, but it addresses only one area of the community violence problem. It seems it is easier to “put a face” on the heroin problem than it is to put one on violent crime victims.
It is hoped the Community Violence Subcommittee will reach out to the various neighborhood communities throughout the county soon so that a collaborative effort can be established to combat incidents like those that have plagued the Longs community over the past year.