Downtown Orlando Sees 11 Percent Decrease in Crime
A new initiative in downtown Orlando is helping to keep the city crime-free. Three months ago, a city board began the “Orlando Downtown Ambassador Program,” getting residents to patrol the downtown Orlando, Florida area. As a result of these efforts, combined with incredible progress of the police department, there has been a remarkable reduction in crime by 11 percent this year, according to city officials.
Orlando Police compared statistics from 2017 to 2018 and found that there had been a 10 percent decline in people violating city ordinances. Also, petty theft is down nine percent. These numbers are higher than usual, which is an excellent sign for a city with an ordinarily high crime rate.
Citizen Watch Groups Keep Peace
The program began in August 2018, consisting of 17 men and women that called themselves “downtown ambassadors.” Their task is to regularly patrol the streets in the downtown Orlando area and assist people with whatever they need. That means reporting crimes, contacting emergency services, and ensuring overall safety.
The Executive Director of the Downtown Development Board, Thomas Chatmon, found that in spite of the ambassadors not being able to accept full credit for the decrease in crime, the program is working. He noted that there had been instances where business managers called on the task force to come by and assist them with a problem or to help them deal with panhandlers. Businesses prefer this system over having to call the police, which may result in a scene and negative PR.
Dyer expressed his appreciation of the ambassador program at a recent city board meeting, telling the media “It’s nice to make an investment and see measurable results in terms of the crime reduction and the interactions.”
Cutting Down on Panhandling
In the first three months, ambassadors noticed 204 instances of aggressive panhandling while on patrol. During the last two months, they have helped to escort around eight people per day safely, reported 77 suspicious incidents, and made contact with emergency services 159 times, which Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer applauds.
While the state of Florida doesn’t want tourists and residents harassed in public places, the government is still going to try and help those who normally panhandle. Rather than giving directly to an individual, authorities are asking Floridians (and anyone else wishing to help) to log into GiveSmartOrlando.org, where you can donate directly to agencies that are a part of the Housing First initiative, which works on getting homes, healthcare, food and more to the community’s homeless population.
The ambassadors patrol the downtown Orlando, Florida area seven days per week, from 7 AM until 11 PM. Anyone who needs their help can call or text 407-902-4374.
Representation for Violating City Ordinances
If you are charged with a city ordinance violation, don’t assume it is a simple matter of paying a fine. City ordinance violations can carry stiff penalties and those accused of an offense should seek out a well-known attorney familiar with the city in which you need representation. The Umansky Law Firm has over 100 years of combined experience to help protect our clients’ rights and reputations. Contact us today to get a free case evaluation to determine if our criminal defense lawyers can help you get a beneficial outcome.