THE STOCK ANSWER (MANTRA) WILL ALWAYS BE: "Go ask the police."
This is nothing more than the local MLS SKIRTING the issue in attempt to protect their market; by withholding pertinent information a buyer needs to make an informed and intelligent decision about purchasing a home in South Carolina.
There are three good rules for house-hunting in the greater Myrtle Beach area:
1. Ask your "safety" questions DIRECTLY to the people who live in that particular community.
2. Don't expect to receive a 100% truthful or accurate statement from the police (no matter what state).
3. Don't ask your real estate agent or broker, because you certainly will NOT get an honest answer regarding "safety of neighborhoods." (This truthful information is being guarded by the local "good-old-boy" controlled MLS of South Carolina.) If you do ask an agent's opinion on anything - independently verify that information - do not take their word at face value. After all, these people are not your friends or family - they are salespeople working on commissions and quotas.
I've been told by real estate agents and brokers in the greater Myrtle Beach area, when it comes down to questions about "neighborhood safety," their MLS rules "prohibit" agents and brokers from answering your HONEST question with an HONEST answer. Their other lame mantra: "We can get sued if we say it is a "safe" neighborhood and then your house gets robbed." Well, that is just more rhetorical B.S. to withhold the truth from buyers. In my view, withholding the truth is tantamount to lying.
The local police only publish "certain" records that are "on the books." They will NOT tell you about a neighborhood that is on the "decline." Police will NOT tell you about "suspicious criminal-like activities" increasing in a neighborhood - such as the increase of known gang members or gang leaders residing in a community. After all, a gang leader can live in a neighborhood, be arrested dozens of times, but never be "convicted" of a crime (good lawyers). If a gang member is not convicted, they will NOT be part of a "public accessible" police record. Thus, a neighborhood can look okay on a police record, but at the same time, it also may be on the verge of transitioning to an unsafe place to live.
In my home state, California, it is 100% illegal for real estate agents, brokers or sellers to withhold ANY information that may negatively impact your personal safety or personal investment of the home you are about to purchase. Example: If a house next to the home you are about to purchase had known meth lab activities (current or in the past), this information can NOT be withheld from the buyer. In fact, in most cases, it must be called-out in a written declaration. California is a very pro-consumer protection state, and we have laws on the books that protect consumers from people who don't want to tell the truth or withhold facts relative to your home purchase.
IF YOU WANT THE TRUTH about the "safety" or "criminal factors" of a particular neighborhood - ask the local residents. "Social Engineering" works very well, so use this a tool to find the truth. Most people are willing to be open and honest about the good AND bad of their neighborhood (except real estate agents). The locals will be honest, where the police won't and the good-old-boy MLS members refused by maintaining archaic, self-anointed rules.
I once asked a Little River (SC) real estate agent about the "safety" of a certain neighborhood by asking the following question in a leading manner:
"Would you feel comfortable moving YOUR 65-year-old mother into this neighborhood to live on her own?" Her pathetic answer: Well, this is not about my mother - is it?" What are these people trying to HIDE by offering lame, political-based answers like the above? Perhaps they think they are dodging potential liability by withholding the truth. (I guess the local MLS hasn't yet been litigated in "federal" court.)
I hope MY experience, candidness and honesty helps answer YOUR question.