Friday, July 16, 2010

Myrtle Beach Boardwalk Crime and the News


In the last few days, a debate of sorts has arisen over local news reporters and crime in Myrtle Beach. Traditionally, crime news has been very quietly reported by the local paper and television news stations, particularly in the summer. I've always felt like that was a good thing. Our crime is high in overall statistics, but much of it is contained in several areas that tourists seldom see. In fact, the only ones unfortunate enough to suffer from some of these neighborhoods are the people who live in them. I can sympathize, but it doesn't affect me, nor does it affect tourism. To my opinion, the less it is sensationalized, the better. In this era of social media, particularly Facebook, news spreads faster and further than ever before. The Sun News even spits out news clips on Twitter, and one of the television stations, WMBFNews.com has a huge following on Facebook. The more controversial the news articles, the more traffic they get.


The new Myrtle Beach Boardwalk officially opened in May, and it's one of the nicest attractions the Grand Strand has invested in for a long time. It somewhat replaces the emptiness left from losing the Pavilion, and is a wonderful way to enjoy the beach, for young and old, pet lovers, health nuts - even the handicapped. There is one small problem though...part of it is located in a really rough part of Myrtle Beach. The southern end of the Boardwalk meets the 2nd Ave Pier area at 2nd Ave South. Most all of the renovated rental condos are from 10th Ave North and up. The south end has a few, but for the most part kept a large number of old mom and pop hotels, and worse - the run-down old beach houses across from the beach and on the 2nd and 3rd row. Where avenues like 28th North up to 80th north are lined with fine residences or condos, the south end roads are still old and often delapidated hotels and rickety beach homes...usually catering to year-round or monthly rentals that are way below regular housing prices.


Like Atlantic Beach in North Myrtle, these streets have more than their share of drug dealers, prostitutes, pool halls, and crime. The big question - what can be done to change it? WMBF wrote an article about this, and has created a storm of debate, from those who congratulate them because they "let the cat out of the bag", to many others who think they are sensationalizing the news for their own benefit. To hear WMBF's defense, read their article called  Consider This - Myrtle Beach Boardwalk.

Short of finding a Donald Trump to buy up the houses and replace them with more condo resorts or expensive beach homes, the city of Myrtle Beach cannot force property owners to renovate an older home or dictate to whom they choose to rent. With the glut of oceanfront condos, 2nd and 3rd row streets won't support a luxury Myrtle Beach rental condos. That option is probably never going to work. It's always very hard to renovate and clean up a notoriously bad neighborhood anyway. People who know the area simply won't consider living in a neighborhood that's been known to be crime-ridden for years.

The Boardwalk makes a convenient place for the hookers, the intoxicated, the pan-handlers, and the drug dealers to walk on the better side. Where the beach used to be dark and uninviting, it's now brighter and enticing even to the bad elements. But where they go, trouble follows...so now the area is not safe for tourists and regular locals, at least in the later part of the evenings.

Yes, the city could hire another 100 or so policemen to do nothing but patrol the Boardwalk. But like every other city, Myrtle Beach is hurting in this economy too. If they spend the money for this, then the only way to do it is to increase the already too-high taxes. And if you think about it, walking along the Boardwalk seeing a uniformed policement every 50 feet is rather intimidating. So what is the answer?

How about a little common sense? If you go to New York City, are you going to stroll down a dark street downtown at 10-11 oclock at night safely? No, not unless you are foolishly fearless.

Enjoy our gorgeous new attraction during the day...the morning...the early evenings. If you rent a condo on the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk, enjoy the views of it safely from your balcony after 9 or 10pm. You've got a bigger problem if you stroll along the Florida oceanfront than you do in Myrtle Beach, but you still need to remember that there are dangers everywhere. Act a little more responsible for your own safety, and enjoy your vacation without worry.
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