Planning a trip to the number one tourist hot spot in the U.S.? If you have your sites set on a family fun vacation to Orlando, Florida, you might want to pack the pepper spray. Crimes against tourists in the area is at an all time high. It really disturbs me when I think about the whole topic. These people save for months just to come to Orlando and criminals are picking them out as easy prey.
Think you’re safe just because you’re standing with your young children? Think again, these criminals have absolutely no morals when it comes to their greed.
An Austrian mother and daughter were returning after a fun filled day out on their vacation. As they entered the elevator in a Best Western Hotel, on renown International Drive, they were confronted by two men. These men immediately began beating the females and stole their purses, quickly running off thereafter. Was there nothing that could have been done to save these women? When asked, security says they have no comment on the matter.
Another completely appalling incident was involving a German couple who came to Orlando looking for an enjoyable and exciting time. The man and woman were relaxing on the bed of their hotel room, a Howard Johnson motel, watching television. They had left their door slightly propped open, assuming they would be safe in the comforts of this facility. Without warning two men came quickly inside of the room, pointing a sawed off shotgun at the couple. One of the criminals forced the man onto the floor and threw a blanket over his head. The other vicious robber then raped the woman and severely beat her head and face with the weapon after having ordered her to open their hotel room safe. The manager of the Howard Johnson did not want to be interviewed on this incident.
Those are just a couple of the many crimes being committed in Orlando. There have been multiple accounts of families walking down International Drive, and being assaulted in public for their wallets.
I’m sure this article won’t become a favorite of the booming businesses in Orlando, Florida. However, I strongly feel that the public should be aware of what is going on. Most cases, such as the German couple stated above, were targeted because of just that, they were unaware of the dangers in the area.
When in your hotel room always lock your doors, I cannot stress that enough. Never open your door to any strangers. If in doubt of who is knocking at your door, call the service desk at the hotel and let them know what’s going on. There have been reports of robberies that involved criminals knocking on hotel doors claiming to be the “pizza delivery man”. Once the door was opened for them, they would enter the room and rob the victims. So please, when on vacation take the extra precautions to protect you and your family.
I must admit, I am quite disgusted on the lack of what is being done to prevent these crimes. However, there are some organizations working to reduce the threats.
The International Drive Resort Area Chamber of Commerce strongly supports the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in effort to bring these crimes to a minimum. In 1991 they created a method called “Crime Alert Fax System” to alert the surrounding area quickly about criminal activities. Within seconds of a reported event the information is faxed to over 200 businesses in the International Drive area. The Chamber also offers free Crime Prevention seminars to all members. The program is presented by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and the Orlando Police Department.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department has also stationed officers in places such as hotel rooftops to surveillance the area. In one recent event an Officer stationed on top of a Sheraton Hotel was able to witness a car jacking in a Wet N’ Wild parking lot. The criminals were caught and arrested.
I truly hope the community begins to do more to help prevent these incidents from happening. I feel things such as, handing out a flier when tourists check into a hotel stating that they should never leave their doors unlocked should be done more. Tourists channels on the hotel television should have advertisements on safety as well.
If everyone does their part we can make taking a vacation just what it should be, a fun and joyous experience for everyone.