MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Myrtle Beach city leaders have been talking about prohibiting businesses on Ocean Boulevard from selling weapons, drug paraphernalia, and graphic clothing. On Tuesday, they spoke with Myrtle Beach police about whether doing that would really have an impact on crime.
Myrtle Beach City Council asked the Planning Commission what It thought about creating a district that would restrict what businesses on Ocean Boulevard can sell. Commission members have debated this for months and finally asked Myrtle Beach Police Capt. Joey Crosby if they think this could help make the area safer. “There’s no way for us really to track that to be quite honest with you,” said Crosby. “We can see that a person had a weapon and it may say a pocket knife but there’s no way for us, but did it come from a local beachwear store? Quite honestly there’s no way for us to know that.”
Capt. Crosby said he’s not quite sure there’s a connection between merchandise and safety. Commission members therefore asked him what he thinks has led to the violence that’s occurred on the boulevard. “Unfortunately that unwanted and unruly behavior is coming from other areas into our city,” Crosby replied.
Business owners on the boulevard, including Gay Dolphin owner Buzz Plyler, attended the meeting and told the Commission the proposed restrictions are targeting them unfairly. “The area in question of the overlay district is not the principal area of crime in Myrtle Beach. And if you’re going to address crime in Myrtle Beach, this cannot be the only area you address,” said Plyler.
While Commission members continue to discuss the ordinance, Crosby told them the department plans to work directly with businesses to help create a more family friendly environment. “If we do see a T-shirt, if we do see something that is not indicative of the atmosphere we’re trying to create, then I can pick up the phone and call and say, ‘Look I’m seeing this what can we do to address this,” he said.
The Planning Commission will discuss the proposed ordinance further at their next two meetings before preparing it for city council.