Prostitution a growing problem in Myrtle Beach, police say - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Prostitution a growing problem in Myrtle Beach, police say

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Police in Myrtle Beach. Police in Myrtle Beach.

By Meghan Miller, WMBF News Weekend Anchor - email

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - New numbers from Myrtle Beach Police are shedding light on a prostitution problem lurking in one of South Carolina's hottest vacation destinations.

SLIDESHOW - December Prostitution Sting

Click here to view a photo gallery of those arrested.

Myrtle Beach Police tell WMBF News officers made 70 prostitution-related arrests in 2011, and it's a problem Capt. David Knipes says is growing. Already in 2012, police have charged eight people with similar crimes.

"Some groups in society think it shouldn't be something we're wasting our time with," Knipes said.

But it's a problem Myrtle Beach Police say needs addressed, and they're cracking down on the crime with undercover officers and tips from the public. Knipes says a handful of prostitution hot-spots includes areas along Ocean Boulevard, Flagg Street and Chester Street.

"Through undercover operations and undercover cars, prostitutes might approach officers in those vehicles, and [then] an arrest will be made," he explained.

Two people were charged with prostitution-related crimes on Monday, according to the department's P2C website. Officers charged Amanda Wilson, 26, of Myrtle Beach, after she allegedly said she would perform oral sex on another person for $25 in the area of 1st Avenue.

Eugene Rosman, 34, of New York, was also charged with prostitution in the same vicinity after police alleged he offered a woman $25 for oral sex.

When WMBF News attempted to obtain mug shots of both Rosman and Wilson, a booking officer said they were not available, most likely because the two were never physically booked into the Myrtle Beach Jail. She said it's likely the officer charged the two, and let them go as a courtesy.

Mark Blakely lives along Ocean Boulevard in Downtown Myrtle Beach, and said it's a crime that happens often - and right outside his door.

"They'll be flirtatious, waving at you," he described. "[They're] trying to get you to stop."

Blakely says he's worried the problem will tarnish Myrtle Beach's image as a family-friendly destination.

"Myrtle Beach is a family beach, and this is a big problem," he added.

Knipes said the crime runs deeper, though.

"Prostitution has connections to robberies, to drugs and things along that nature," he told WMBF News.

Knipes says while undercover patrols are helping to put a dent into the problem, officers need your help too. If you see any suspicious activity happening around you in Myrtle Beach, you're asked to report it to police immediately.

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