Myrtle Beach officer given statewide honor for preventing crime

Myrtle Beach Police Department's Crime Prevention Officer Pete Woods has received the SCANA Crime Prevention Award from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Officers Association for 2013.

Wednesday night, a group of neighborhood crime watch community members from The Highlands and Withers Preserve honored him at a monthly meeting.

"Officer Woods? Unbelievable. I don't know how he does it," Rick Berg, a neighborhood watch program member said.

Officer Woods became the Crime Prevention Officer three years ago, when there were only nine neighborhood watch groups in Myrtle Beach.

Today, there are 23, and Officer Woods has diligently worked alongside each one of them through monthly meetings and community events.

"When the police and the community are partners, we won't eliminate all crime, but we will definitely knock the numbers down and move criminals somewhere else," said Officer Woods.

The Monticello Park Apartment Complex has been one of Wood's biggest success stories, since he's been working with the Neighborhood Watch Group. They've seen fewer calls for police service, and the complex actually now has a wait list of people wanting to move in.

"In the past, the only time you'd see the police is after a tragedy when you call 911. That's lost. That is no way to be proactive. That's no way to knock down crime numbers," Officer Woods said.

Officer Woods typically sees 320 citizens at his crime watch meetings every month and wants that number to grow even larger over the next few years.

"This is their home. This is a vacation place, it's a golf place, but for all these people in this room, it's their home," Officer Woods said.

If you'd like to get involved in a neighborhood watch program or start one in your community, please click here.