We’re 21! Or are we?
Last Friday night, I ventured down to Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach because I had promised my 5-year-old daughter that I would take her on the SkyWheel, a reward for good behavior.
It was rather sparse downtown as the weather turned from tropical heat to wintry chill, so there wasn’t a whole lot of foot traffic on the beach’s most infamous thoroughfare.
Still – with a small child in tow, I was on my toes.
I used to be rather street smart, having worked and attended graduate school in downtown Atlanta and having actually lived within pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods in the city – but more than a decade of beach and suburban living has me a little off my game. I used to frequent downtown Myrtle Beach, as well, and by comparison it was a cake walk. A recent trip to Atlanta to visit my dad in the hospital in one of the city’s most notoriously blighted areas reinforced that I’m a little jumpy in such circumstances, but determined not to be taken advantage of – and/or harmed.
So, as we parked in the lot next to the SkyWheel, I didn’t let my little one leave my side as I worked the parking ticket machine all the while scanning the approach of strangers – call me paranoid, but the recent report by NeighborhoodScout.com ranking Myrtle Beach as the 21st most dangerous city in the country was in the back of my mind.
I’m happy to report that nothing happened – not even anything slightly suspicious – although I did kind of feel like I got robbed by the SkyWheel - $22 for three revolutions? And throw in the $3 for parking, too.
But back to that ranking – it has been making the rounds on social media, news Web sites and some blogs – although these types of lists are nothing new. Most of these reports never take into account the tourist population that’s here, making the city more like one with a population of 250,000 on any given summer day instead of the approximately 28,000 full-time residents. That is important, city officials will tell you, because the ranks are assigned per capita.
In any event, the latest ranking by NeighborhoodScout.com piqued the interest of Surge correspondent Andrew Davis who volunteered to roam the streets with a target on his back. OK, kidding about that latter part.
Anyhow, Davis set out to dig into the data, interview local law enforcement and city officials, sociologists, criminologists, and business owners in the central city in order to find out what’s really going on, and to see, in his own words, if Myrtle Beach has “really descended into some sort of lawless, dystopian society where criminals roam Ocean Boulevard like bands of wild savages.”
How dangerous is Murder Beach, we mean Myrtle Beach? And what is the perception of property and violent crime in our center city? Are the high crime rates in Myrtle Beach merely a myth, a result of skewed data, or perhaps being swept under the rug?
The results of his investigation, this week’s cover story, can be perused starting on our homepage.
AND THE WINNER IS…
Congratulations to Surge contributor Roger Yale, whose exploration of the Harry Potter fantasy game Quidditch becoming a real-life sport on college campuses, including Coastal Carolina University, nabbed the most votes in our Top 12 Cover Stories of 2012 contest conducted via www.weeklysurge.com.
It was a close contest as Yale’s article edged out Derrick Bracey’s “Adrenaline Fix” cover story putting local thrill rides to the test by 15 votes.
We received a total of 2,349 votes so I’d like to personally thank everyone who took the time to cast theirs - it means quite a bit to our writers who don’t get much recognition for the outstanding jobs they do week in and week out.
For his efforts Yale receives bragging rights and the Golden Snitch Award.
Kent Kimes, Editor