Is Myrtle Beach Ranked Third Most Dangerous City in America?

Is Myrtle Beach ranked third most dangerous city in America?

Last year, the security company Safewise ranked Myrtle Beach third most dangerous city. Despite no major changes in the FBI statistics for 2018, Safewise changed their analysis and, this year, decided that Myrtle Beach is the 32nd most dangerous city in America.

But wait… according to other security companies and media outlets, Myrtle Beach still holds the prize for third most dangerous city… and, based on FBI crime stats, South Carolina is now ranked the sixth most dangerous state in America.

Why is Myrtle Beach ranked third most dangerous city?

Myrtle Beach is Ranked Third Most Dangerous City in America

Based on the number of violent crimes reported by the FBI, Myrtle Beach is ranked third most dangerous city in America:

To rank the most dangerous cities, we analyzed the data from cities with a population of 10,000 or more in 2018 and evaluated the number of reported Violent Crimes (murder, robbery, aggravated assault, and forcible rape) and reported Property Crimes (burglary, arson, motor vehicle theft, and larceny-theft). According to the FBI’s data, these were the top 5 most dangerous cities last year:

  1. Emeryville, California

  2. Tukwila, Washington

  3. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

  4. Lumberton, North Carolina

  5. Branson, Missouri

Note that Lumberton, NC, which is just down the road from the Grand Strand, is ranked fourth right after Myrtle Beach.

City officials and the Myrtle Beach Police Department are not happy with the designation. They’ve never been happy about it – despite the steady drip-drip-drip of murders, robberies, and shootings on the Grand Strand, they desperately want people to see Myrtle Beach as the “family friendly” vacation destination. The local economy depends on tourism, after all.

So, what is their complaint and how did Myrtle Beach get ranked third most dangerous city again?

Why is Myrtle Beach Ranked Third Most Dangerous City in America?

According to the City, the stats are skewed because Myrtle Beach has a small population of permanent residents but has millions of visitors each year. Because the stats reflect the number of violent crimes per capita, and “per capita” means the number permanent residents as determined by the most recent census data, the city argues that the stats are inaccurate:

Mark Kruea, spokesman for the City of Myrtle Beach, said the city often lands on “most dangerous” lists because its “low permanent population skews the results.”

“The FBI provides per capita crime statistics based on permanent population,” Kruea said via email. “Obviously, our average daily population is much greater than 100,000, but because our Census population is so small, it dramatically skews the numbers. Other cities with lots of tourism have their numbers skewed, too, but ours is especially noticeable since our permanent population is so small.

It makes sense. Of course, statistics can always be manipulated to reach the conclusion that a person wants them to reach, can’t they? Relying solely on the number of violent crimes per capita without manipulating the data, Myrtle Beach is ranked the third most dangerous city in America.

Myrtle Beach is only one of hundreds of tourist destinations in America, with many beaches and other tourist destinations likely exceeding the number of visitors to Myrtle Beach. Yet, Myrtle Beach still comes in at number three, well ahead of other tourist destinations.

Are Emeryville, Tukwila, and Lumberton also tourist destinations with “skewed” results? I’ve never been to Emeryville or Tukwilla, but I can tell you that Lumberton, NC is probably not the ideal location for your honeymoon…

Or is Myrtle Beach the 32nd Most Dangerous City in America?

Safewise, which ranked Myrtle Beach third most dangerous city last year, moved Myrtle Beach to their 32nd spot in this year’s report – possibly caving to Myrtle Beach’s criticism and insistence that the data must be manipulated to get an accurate result.

Neighborhood Scout, a location analytics company, using another analysis, ranked Myrtle Beach as the 13th most dangerous city this year:

“Once we have this complete and accurate count of crimes for every city in the nation, our analysis takes the violent crimes for each city with 25,000 or more people, and divides them by the population of the city, divided by 1,000,” the company writes. “This establishes a violent crime rate per 1,000 population that is used to compare every city.

Using Neighborhood Scout’s numbers, “you have a 1-in-60 chance of becoming a victim of a violent crime and a 1-in-7 chance of becoming a victim of a property crime in Myrtle Beach.”

SC is ranked the Sixth Most Dangerous State in America

Another security company, Safehome, has ranked South Carolina the sixth most dangerous state in America using the same FBI crime stats but adding other variables:

Six categories were used to determine the rankings: population, violent crime trend, violent crimes, property crime trends, property crime and citizen-to-officer-ratio.

The Palmetto State consistently ranked near the top for these specific crimes:

  • Property Crime: Ranks fifth highest state with 3,196 cases per 100,000 people.

  • Larceny: Ranks fifth highest state with 2,289 cases per 100,000 people.

According to Safehome, the most dangerous state is New Mexico, while New Hampshire is the safest state in the nation.

Criminal Defense Lawyer in Charleston and Myrtle Beach, SC

Grant B. Smaldone is a criminal defense lawyer based in Charleston, SC who defends state and federal criminal cases in the Eastern SC area.

If you have been charged with a crime in state or federal court in SC, call now at (843) 808-2100 or contact us online to talk to a Charleston, SC criminal defense attorney today.


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