On the morning of July 4th in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Ismail Omar Dickerson, 39, along with one unidentified male and one unidentified female beat and robbed a guest at the Beach Walk Motel on 1701 South Ocean Boulevard in downtown Myrtle Beach, S.C.
The victim told police he heard a knock on his door around 6 a.m. and when he opened it, two men and a woman grabbed him and threw him into another room.
Officers from the Myrtle Beach Police Department, filed an incident report which said that two men tied his hands and feet as the woman tore a sheet that she used to gag him.
One of the suspects, a Conway, S.C. man has been captured and is now in jail as of Thursday July 6th.
Records from the J. Reuben Long Detention Center identify the suspect as Ismail Omar Dickerson age 39. Dickerson is charged with armed robbery, first-degree assault and battery, kidnapping, first-degree burglary, possession of a weapon during a violent crime, pedestrian on a controlled access highway and public intoxication.
The victim suffered a swollen right eye and a bloodied face. Blue shoelaces were tied around his wrists. When police arrived the victim had a piece of ripped sheet around his neck.
“The victim was unable to stand and stated that he was punched repeatedly and thrown on his back and right hip,” the MBPD Police report stated.
This while Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes announced on Thursday he would like to ask S.C. legislators in January 2018 if the city of Myrtle Beach can re-allocate 10% of TDF funds (tourist tax), or money paid by tourists who purchase things in the city, to go towards law enforcement. The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber (MBACC) currently collects approximately $25 million annually. Each tourist who spends inside the city of Myrtle Beach pays one extra penny on each purchase of which 80% is sent to MBACC. Those funds can only be used for advertising Myrtle Beach.
“We have to let the public know and especially our legislators and say ‘hey, we’re not that little sleepy town of 30k people on a daily basis’. Every day, we’re about a 125,000 to 150,000 population when you look at the people that are staying in hotels and people coming here to visit. Then, as we go into the season, we grow up to 350,000 to 450,000 people,” says Mayor Rhodes.
“That is the main objective, and talking to our delegation, they feel confident that we may be able to do this, and we’ve got the backing from the chamber of commerce with Brad Dean. He wants to see this done also,” said Rhodes.
10% of the tourist tax would amount to $2.5 million.
However, records from Governing.com show that the Myrtle Beach Police Department would actually need around $16 million of the tourist tax monies re-allocated to staff the sufficient amount of officers Myrtle Beach currently needs.
Data MyrtleBeachSC.com compiled in the graph below from Governing.com showed that a city, like Washington, D.C. has 4,487 total police employees for a resident population of 569,000 people.
If Mr. Dean’s figures of 18 million tourists for all cities in the area (including Myrtle Beach, Garden City, North Myrtle Beach, and Surfside Beach) are accurate, then the average weekly population of the city of Myrtle Beach alone should equal a minimum 400,000 tourist residents every week during peak season. The total number of certified police officers in the city of Myrtle Beach currently equals approximately 200 and no more than 287.
For the record, 650,000 residents in D.C. equals 4,487 police officers. Myrtle Beach in July has roughly 400,000 tourist residents, but only 287 police officers at maximum. A city, like Philadelphia with a population of 409,000 has 7,229 police employees.
With violent crime now a central concern in Myrtle Beach, some downtown merchants view the request by Mayor Rhodes as a cover allowing Mr. Dean to keep over $22 million of the current funds the MBACC gets in tax welfare.
Local resident Joe McVay, a long standing and highly respected area business leader, spoke at a recent Myrtle Beach Town Hall stating he believes more of those tourist tax funds should be spent directly into downtown Myrtle Beach for hiring additional police. Dozens of others spoke sharing his same sentiments.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Re: Tourist Tax – This article states the Tourist Tax is paid by tourists. The tax is actually paid by anyone spending in the city of Myrtle Beach. The tax is 1 penny on every dollar spent in the U.S.A.