MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – “Enough is enough is enough.” “I want change today. Not tomorrow. Today.” Those were the sentiments that frustrated and fed up Myrtle Beach city residents expressed at the special city council meeting on Tuesday.
At least 300 residents packed the Ted C. Collins Law Enforcement Center, and more than a dozen addressed city council head on. “We’re going to hold your feet to the fire. Elections are coming up,” threatened Jo Cooper, a lifelong resident.
One by one, concerned residents marched up to the podium and told city leaders what they want to see change, so they can feel safe again. “If it means that you have to have a curfew, mama told you nothing good happens after 11 o’clock,” said an Ocean Boulevard resident. “Police officers’ hands need to be undone and let them do their job. Don’t be afraid of lawsuits,” said another resident. “The ad tax, the tourism development fee, whatever you want to call it, take 20 million dollars, take half of that money, and put it into the city for public safety,” said Mark McBride.
As the city worries about losing millions of tourist dollars, residents keep asking, ‘What about us?’ “What are you going to do for the residents? It’s like nobody cares. I really feel that way. Do something for us!”, said Jo Cooper. She’s lived in the Withers Swash community her whole life, and though she hates to see her hometown in national headlines, “It’s sad that it took this to get this kind of attention but maybe this is just what we needed,” she said.
Like many others at the meeting, she says there’s only one solution to crime in the city – more police.“We have as many officers on January 4th as on July 4th. They cannot protect us when they have the same officers year around,” Cooper said. Though she’s satisfied with how the meeting went, Cooper’s not sure real change will come anytime soon. “I would like to think so but I’m not going to hold my breath.”