How to stop drugs, gangs and crime? Horry County creates new program to help young adults find jobs


HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – A summer job program could help your kids stay out of trouble. Horry County leaders are about to put it to the test to reduce crime where you live.

It’s a strategy to both help local teens find a productive way to spend their time and curb the violence in our area. The Horry County Violence Subcommittee hopes the surprisingly simple initiative creates lasting effects they’ve tried to create through other programs for years.

Horry County leaders are looking at opportunities to keep juveniles and younger men and women occupied in the evening. So by helping them find jobs, leaders feel it will keep them off the streets which will hopefully reduce crime.

This initiative started when a representative with the South Carolina Department of Workforce and Employment heard about the county’s efforts to reduce crime. Now both are trying to strategize how they can provide job assistance to youth that are possibly on the pathway to violent crimes.

The state already has a program involving law enforcement to help young people find jobs, but Horry County feels if they target the communities here with the highest crime rates and help them find jobs, it will reduce violence and help them be more active and social outside of the streets they tend to flock too.

From previous county research, other jurisdictions across the U.S have shown jobs are linked to reducing violent crimes which proves they’re taking the right steps.

“The lack of jobs, the opportunity for youth to work themselves out of communities that are in high crime areas can be a link to change crime rates,” Horry County Chief Deputy Tom Fox said.

Right now the county is trying to figure out the hot spots for crime in our area that involve younger adults. When that research is done, they will work to find jobs for teens in those areas to serve as a positive distraction getting them off the streets.

The Horry County Violence Subcommittee specifically wants to find jobs for young adults that are out of work or are currently in school and don’t have jobs lined up once they get out.

To help get the information out about their new initiative, leaders plan to network with community centers and schools in Horry County. County leaders also wants to link people in the workforce with younger adults to provide things like resume writing, and interview skills.

Then comes transportation needs. Leaders plan to work with area churches involved in the faith-based Initiative to provide vans to carry students who need to get to work. A Clergy Action Team, which works hand-in-hand with Horry County Police to assist victims will also volunteer help. The goal is to start this program within a few months.

“What we’re trying to address – some of the underlying social issues that need to take some of the people off the street. If they have full employment maybe they wont be out there slinging dope,” Fox said.

Once the County identifies violent crime hot spots, a survey will be sent out to find out more about that area’s needs.

The County wants to hear about the minor problems because they could be the solutions to fix the major issues within our community.

The state will fund the summer job program.

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