By Paul Gable
Shootings over the last month in Myrtle Beach and the Longs area of Horry County again highlighted the need for a coordinated effort among police departments, other public agencies, community leaders and citizens to counter violence in our local communities.
In February 2016, local community activists went before Myrtle Beach City Council asking for help to combat violence in the community.
City officials responded by saying crime was down in the city and chastising the activists for “hurting tourism” with their claims of increasing violence in the city.
Since then, Myrtle Beach city officials have changed their tune. Meetings to address the rising heroin epidemic and recent shootings in the city have at least begun to acknowledge the problem of rising violence in community neighborhoods.
In a related incident, but one that may have ulterior motives, the city used a multiple shooting incident at the Pure Ultra Club in the area known as the “superblock” in downtown Myrtle Beach to add parking restrictions and business operating restrictions in that area.
However, the “superblock” moves may be part of a different initiative by city council.
In October 2015, Myrtle Beach City Council approved an ordinance effectively ending new clubs or bars from moving into the “superblock” area of the city.
At that time, council charged the Myrtle Beach Planning Commission to study zoning in the “superblock” area and come back to council with recommendations in January 2017.
A friend of mine said at that time, “They’re up to something,” referring to Myrtle Beach City Council.
January 2017 is right around the corner. Maybe it will start to become obvious “what they’re up to.”
Regardless of what happens in the “superblock”, efforts to reduce violence in neighborhoods, both within the city limits of Myrtle Beach and throughout the county, must be accelerated.
Cooperative, communicative, collaborative efforts among the various groups concerned about violence must start in the coming months if we wish to push back against the problem.