1 wounded after 40 gunshots riddle Myrtle Beach near 21st Avenue North

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David Hucks
David Huckshttps://myrtlebeachsc.com
David Hucks is a 12th generation descendant of the area we now call Myrtle Beach, S.C. David attended Coastal Carolina University and like most of his family, has never left the area. David is the lead journalist at MyrtleBeachSC.com

The Myrtle Beach Police Department is investigating after officers heard 30 to 40 gunshots Saturday near 21st Avenue North in the Booker T. Washington neighborhood.

Several residents directed officers to Graham Avenue and Hemmingway Street after they found shell casings in the area.

As officers secured the crime scene, dispatch informed them that a person had been admitted to Grand Strand Hospital with a gunshot wound.

There is one suspect and the investigation is ongoing, according to police.

Election Implications

Myrtle Beach will elect 3 city council members on November 7th. Candidates unanimously agreed that the city needed to prioritize hiring new police officers for the city. The city consistently ranks among the highest in the state for crime.

This was once again exampled by the 30 to 40 gunshots near 21st Avenue North.

As reported by America Online Sun News Fact Checker:

From downtown development to affordable housing, Myrtle Beach’s eight city council candidates have divergent opinions.

To a person, they agree on one thing: South Carolina’s most popular tourism attraction needs more police officers.

In the city’s 2023-24 spending plan, 279 officers are budgeted, but the agency currently lacks 57 officers, Cpl. Christopher Starling told The Sun News.

Based on internal crime data, the city’s police department handled 115,000 service calls and made $150,000 worth of seizures in 2022.

In response to a Sun News candidate questionnaire last week, Stuart Behar said these men and women are doing the best they can to keep residents and visitors safe with the resources available. According to me, the lack of officers is our biggest problem, because it leads to a decrease in street security and an increase in crime rates.

As a result, violent crimes have decreased by nearly a quarter between 2018 and 2022 – from 4,002 to 2,985.

In essence, the city is in the position of hiring anyone with the qualifications because it is understaffed with the police department. The Sun News spoke with council candidate and downtown business owner Myra Starnes last week about maintaining a sufficient number of officers to adequately police the city.

According to Randal Wallace, who served on the city council from 2002 to 2018, leaders can help keep police close to home by subsidizing rents in high crime areas like those experiencing gunshots near 21st Avenue North.

We need to find qualified, trained law enforcement professionals of all kinds to fill 50 to 70 unfilled positions, Wallace said. Increasing community policing is necessary, and I would like to see us assist officers willing to move into troubled neighborhoods.

Staffing difficulties were highlighted in a departmental overview attached to the city’s budget.

In response to the opioid and heroin epidemic, officials continue to face challenges with providing services for all types of crime to reduce Part I crimes, including larceny. Staffing continues to be an issue. The retirement of several employees and upcoming retirements continue to bring about changes in our leadership and structure. Additionally, we are struggling with the quality and quantity of applicants.”

Six new officers were sworn in at the department’s swearing-in ceremony on Oct. 21.

In remarks carried on the department’s YouTube channel, Prock said that one of the most common reasons people choose to pursue this profession is the desire to make a difference in the community they live in. Although it is a notable desire, this job comes with a great deal of risk, just as it does with many things worth doing.

With the start of the July 1 fiscal year, city police officers’ starting wages increased by 5% to $52,647 for certified officers and $50,139 for recruits.

The department also offers a number of other benefits, including:

Incentives for relocation

Patrol officers have three-day weekends every other week

Annually, ten paid holidays and 96 paid vacation and sick days are available

Getting reimbursed for tuition

Health insurance for free

Police officer retirement system enrollment

Equipment and uniforms are not out-of-pocket expenses

According to Starling, “Our department offers a variety of career development opportunities for our teammates.”

Should Councilman John Krajc be re-elected, he will continue to support investments to strengthen the city’s public safety force.

In the past four years since I took office, violent crime has declined by over 41% in our city. In 2022, I voted to increase the starting pay of certified police officers to the highest in the state. “We have budgeted for over 30 new police officers in the last four years, enhanced equipment for the real time crime unit, and continued to devote the majority of our budget to public safety,” he said.

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