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myrtlesquare

How Safe Are South Carolina's Cities?

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You begin to wonder how safe are South Carolina's metro areas? According to a recent study http://www.morganquitno.com/cit04pop.htm of the most dangerous metro areas in the US, South Carolina had 4 out of 25. Here's how they ranked:

#6 on list: Myrtle Beach

#9 on list: Sumter

#16 on list: Charleston-North Charleston

#22 on list: Columbia

on a total of 281 Metropolitan areas.

Additionally, North Charleston rates as #12 on a list of 350 most dangerous cities.

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What a list.... would you mind summarizing what the criteria were for making this list?

I have spent significant time in 3/4 of those cities and I have never felt unsafe. N Chas doesnt suprise me though.

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In the "SC City Rankings" thread, I posted the crime ratings of our metropolitan areas as reported by Sperling's BestPlaces website. Here are the rankings:

Best and Worst Cities for Crime

--100 largest metro areas--

53. Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson

78. Charleston-North Charleston

84. Columbia

--114 mid-sized metro areas--

114. Myrtle Beach

--117 small metro areas--

108. Sumter

113. Florence

The FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program Crime Index was used as the basis for this study. This index consists of the combined rate of murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, assault, burglary, larceny, and auto theft per 100,000 population. The higher the ranking (#1, #2, etc.), the less crime.

Myrtle Beach has the highest total rate of crime in the nation, due to a high rate of violent crime and the nation's highest rate of property crime. In particular, the rates of assault, burglary, and larceny are particularly high. However, I think that this is largely attributed to Myrtle Beach being such a popular tourist destination. I wish we had some statistics detailing the times of year that crime seems to peak in the area.

I'm not understanding how Columbia ranks so high on the Morgan Quitno list, yet so low on the FBI Index list. Both supposedly use the FBI Index list as a basis for their rankings, yet it seems that the Morgan Quitno folks use a more complicated methodology:

The methodology for determining America

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I haven't felt a real threat in any of the cities, except maybe north of Charleston. Myrtle Beach is on there, I guess, because of the criminals that vacation in Myrtle Beach. It's attractive because of the 14 million people that go there, and blend in to the crowd.

I didn't think, in my personal opinion, that Sumter was dangerous. Do you think this was based on Shaw Air Force Base?

I don't know that much about Columbia's crime, so I can't make an opinion on it.

The Morgan Quitno method is somewhat complex, so I'd go with the BestPlaces statistics.

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Wow...I've never felt unsafe here or any other city in SC. Only unsafe place I really felt threatend was in DC

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DC can get a little creepy. I last visited DC in June 2002, after 911. You'd be surprised how secure that place was! Just don't wander off of Capitol Drive.

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The lists are objective, so I guess it's hard to argue with them, but I feel MUCH less safe in Augusta that I do in any of SC's big cities, even though Augusta somehow got a safer score. Another note, squeaky clean Orlando's score is even lower than SC's cities, even though (downtown at least) Orlando is about as clean and safe as it gets...

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Myrtle Beach's crime rate is so high for one reason. Full time population verus tourist population. Myrtle Beach as a city is small with an estimated 25,000 full time, year round residents. However, during the summer tourist season there is an estimated overnight population of 250,000 residents and guests with the peak coming in May where it gets as high as 450,000 residents and guests per night.

If the FBI considered an average of the overnight population (including tourists) and not just the year round residents, then you would probably never see Myrtle Beach on any list. Las Vegas and Orlando, while having high tourist counts also have higher populations to absorb the crime figures. Myrtle Beach doesn't have that luxury and it makes our numbers look or seem worse than they are. There just isn't an accurate gauge for where Myrtle Beach ranks on the list.

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I lived in DC for a year, and never felt unsafe there. Staying in the high-volume/good areas is the key there, although any big city obviously has crime from time to time.

If I were walking around late at night, there are plenty of places in DC where I would feel safer than in the ghetto areas in downtown Charleston. For a city its size, Charleston certainly has some rough areas.

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I've felt unsafe in parts of Greenville. In fact, there are parts of the city that are downright hell.

My crack-dealing, gun-toting, next-door neighbor being one reason I've felt unsafe.

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According to FBI figures released this past Monday, SC had the second-highest violent crime rate in the nation in 2004 despite a drop in the number of murders and rapes. However, SC Law Enforcement Division Chief Robert Stewart said that could be attributed to the state having a more accurate system for reporting crimes at the local and state level. I'm inclined to think that that's correct. As a matter of fact, I really think that in many instances, the reason why this state receives bad rankings is because our methodologies are more accurate and honest.

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As a matter of fact, I really think that in many instances, the reason why this state receives bad rankings is because our methodologies are more accurate and honest.

I disagree. In fact, I'd bet we'd be near the bottom at that too.

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As a matter of fact, I really think that in many instances, the reason why this state receives bad rankings is because our methodologies are more accurate and honest.
Yea, everyone else lies about homicide rates and violent crimes. ;)

Myrtle Beach's crime rate is so high for one reason. Full time population verus tourist population. Myrtle Beach as a city is small with an estimated 25,000 full time, year round residents. However, during the summer tourist season there is an estimated overnight population of 250,000 residents and guests with the peak coming in May where it gets as high as 450,000 residents and guests per night.

I read somewhere that Myrtle Beach is one of the poorest metro areas in the United States. That could be a major part of it's crime problem.

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Myrtle Beach is one of the poorest metro areas in the United States. That could be a major part of it's crime problem.

The majority of jobs in MB are mainly service industry jobs that cater to tourism. What other jobs are there in MB besides that? That could be a contributing factor.

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Ness, why do you disagree?

Yea, everyone else lies about homicide rates and violent crimes. ;)

Atlanta's police department has recently come under fire for not accurately reporting crimes occurring there; you think they're the only one? Some more info here. People will do all kind of things to make their city/state look more attractive.

I'm beginning not to put as much stock into rankings as I previously have done, especially since I discovered that one of the reasons why SC often falls near the bottom in educational rankings has to do with the fact that the state has higher academic proficiency standards than most states. That's not to say that this state doesn't have its educational issues, but at the same time, I don't think it's as utterly destitute as many are inclined to think.

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Looking at the actual study itself, it confirms what I've been saying. When citing these statistics, each state is also profiled for 1) the actual percentage of MSAs reporting; 2) cities outside of MSAs reporting; and 3) nonmetropolitan counties reporting. SC's figures are 99.9%, 99.6%, and 100%, respectively. Here are some statistics for other states for comparison:

VA: 99.4%, 97.2%, 99.7%

WV: 96.3%, 83.3%, 87.3%

NC: 96.0%, 96.4%, 91.3%

GA: 89.7%, 84.8%, 82.8%

FL: 99.9%, 98.1%, 100%

TN: 100%, 100%, 100%

Interestingly, NJ only reported for their MSAs and not for the other two categories.

In addition, multiple reporting agencies were used for SC (10 in all), including Alcohol Beverage Control, Bureau of Protective Services, Dept. of Mental Health, Dept. of Natural Resources, Employment Security Commission, Forestry Commission, Highway Patrol, State Transport Police, and U.S. Dept. of Energy (Savannah River Site--which alone reported 51 incidences of property crime). In comparison, NC used 5 reporting agences, GA 4, LA 2 (?), FL 7, and VA 4.

So not only do we come VERY close to reporting all of our data, we also use, on average, a greater number of reporting agencies. I think my point is justified.

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The majority of jobs in MB are mainly service industry jobs that cater to tourism. What other jobs are there in MB besides that? That could be a contributing factor.

Well actually there is manufacturing, finance, medical, IT, research, aerospace, etc etc. In fact all of the jobs you would see in any other city in SC.. There is also significant number of residents who live in MB on well off retirement income. Keep in mind that Myrtle Beach has more jobs than residents and many people in SC commute as far as 90 miles away to work jobs in MB. The vast majority of people working in the tourism service industry can't afford to live in Myrtle Beach.

As mentioned earlier MB for all practical purposes is a 450,000 person city throughout most of the year. Far larger than any other city in SC, but when computing per capita statistics, the government only uses the census reports for permanent residents. That is the primary reason you see MB appearing high on the violent crime rate. Its mostly and poorly behaved drunk tourists.

When I was growing up there in the 70s, they used to send roudy tourists to the mid part of Horry county and put them on the chain gang to dig ditches in the hot sun. They ought to bring back the practice as it has a habit of instilling a bit of respect and common sense in the people whose bad choices in life and sense of entitlement resulted in them being in that situation. The college frat boy never wanted another 30 days with the boys and there are never ever any repeat requests to join this particular work group. :lol:

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Ness, why do you disagree?

Atlanta's police department has recently come under fire for not accurately reporting crimes occurring there; you think they're the only one? Some more info here. People will do all kind of things to make their city/state look more attractive.

I'm beginning not to put as much stock into rankings as I previously have done, especially since I discovered that one of the reasons why SC often falls near the bottom in educational rankings has to do with the fact that the state has higher academic proficiency standards than most states. That's not to say that this state doesn't have its educational issues, but at the same time, I don't think it's as utterly destitute as many are inclined to think.

Just a feeling I got, not based in any kind of research. But I don't think a significant number of states are deceptive to the point that it dramatically affects our rankings.

I'm with you on this though, I don't put a lot of faith in rankings anyway.

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As mentioned earlier MB for all practical purposes is a 450,000 person city throughout most of the year. Far larger than any other city in SC, but when computing per capita statistics, the government only uses the census reports for permanent residents. That is the primary reason you see MB appearing high on the violent crime rate. Its mostly and poorly behaved drunk tourists.

I agree with the above statement, but...

The violent crimes (any crimes for that matter) affect the community, tourists and permanent residents alike irregardless of the city's current population. Just because a tourist commits a crime, it will affect the community even if the tourist doesn't live there. I do agree that the government's census can be biased on its per capita statistics.

COMPARATIVELY SPEEKING:

Using the 450,000 person population of the beach, compare it with a similar-sized city such as Fresno, California. Using this data (http://fresno.areaconnect.com/crime1.htm), Fresno had the following from 2004: 53 murders, 181 rapes, and 1,282 robberies. Yet, Myrtle Beach (http://myrtlebeach.areaconnect.com/crime1.htm)had 3 murders, 42 rapes, and 179 robberies. Crimewise, we have less crimes. Any ideas?

I have to say that Myrtle Beach is somewhat unsafe comparing it to other cities that I've lived in. I have never lived in a popular tourist destination, so I couldn't compare to such cities like Orlando, Daytona Beach, etc. I wished that the moral standards of the beach were higher than they currently are.

Of course, we don't have any of these problems aforesaid in the Forest (Carolina Forest, that is :))

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