Crime Related, Orlando
Over all I've never had any issues in Orlando since being here approx. 10 years. But I'm origionally from a Detroit Suburb. I'd say be aware of everything when in Pine Hills, which if you're a visitor then usually you wouldn't even be in that area. Also watch for pick pockets in all tourist areas, Disney, Universal Studios, Epcot.. ect.. and watch your children at all times when in these areas too! I consider this all common sense but doesn't hurt to mention it. Orange Blossom Trail is a popular trashy run down road through-out Orlando for the most part. It has the red-light district on it and unless in Kissimmee then I'd be wary of everything. Keep doors locked, car and where ever you're staying, don't leave anything unattended, children, items...
Basically, Orlando can be a fun place to visit and vacation in as long as you are street smart and always stay in pairs or groups of people.
I moved to Orlando four months ago. I have lived in Brooklyn, and Washington DC, so I am not new to crime-plauged cities. I am shocked at the out of control crime in Orlando. I live in the supposedly "safer" area near the University of Central Florida (UCF). At least once a week I hear gun shots at night. The Publix, Wal Mart, and Starbucks on Alafaya have all been robbed at gunpoint, often in the morning hours in broad daylight. Just yesterday, the news on the TV was that a woman was kidnapped by four guys in an Escalade, stuffed into her trunk, duct taped and driven over toward Goldenrod. She heard them saying they were going to burn the car with her in it before a good Samaritan on a bike chased them off. They still fired some shots into the trunk as they ran away. Luckily she survived unharmed. The scary thing is it was not a big deal on the news...just another day in Orlando. Now lets move on to the not so safe areas....for example Orange Blossom Trail. It is basically the crack and hooker trail. Seedy motels, vagrants, and drug dealers wandering about a trade area extending several miles. Just a few months ago a man was killed in the parking lot of the FedEx Kinkos on OBT. The same FedEx Kinkos was robbed a couple weeks later. I friend of mine was driving down OBT at night when a man jumped in her passanger seat while she was stopped at a red light. She was terrified...the lesson...keep doors locked when driving. Pine Hills...the locals won't even go there...it is known as "Crime Hills". Colonial is dangerous, especially the West side. Low wages at Disney and Universal (7-8 dollars/hour) combined with out-of-control immigration are leading the way to an exploding unskilled population. English is not as widely spoken as you might expect in an American city. It is only a matter of time before more tourists are driven away from Orlando, or God forbid, killed while trying to take a vacation.
We were warned of individuals coming to motel rooms at night pretending to deliver pizza. sure enough, during our recent stay at the Master's Inn just off International Drive in Orlando, this happened to us. Fortunately, we had been pre-warned not to open the door and my husband was able to deter them with some harsh words. Apparently, this is a common tactic among robbers on the International Drive strip.
There are some areas in Orlando you best stay out of, unless you have some specific reason for going there, especially at night: generally speaking, the area west of I-4, south of W. Hwy 50, South Orange Blossom Trail near downtown, some areas off West Hwy 50
Also: be carefull at night even in the "touristy areas" on International Drive! Sometimes tourists get robbed there.
Orlando does a few areas that tourists and new-locals should avoid.
1) Area west of downtown. There is a noticable difference in scenery when you travel west on the downtown roads.
2) Parramore Street. Located immediately west of downtown. This is not a safe area, especially around the stadium.
3) Orange Blosson Trail. The stretch of OBT from Sandlake going north is on the sleezy side with run-dow plazas, "professional ladies" work here at night, trashy motels, etc.
4) Pine Hills. Most in Orlando call it "Crime Hills" for a reason. Located west of Orlando in the area of Hiawasse and Silver Star. If you're there at night...dont stop at any red lights.
Use caution when travelling on S.R 50 east and west.
This is't any special warning but while in one of the major theme parks I had my bag stolen, which contained my camera, money, gifts etc. It was probably my fault since I put it down on the floor while sitting on a bench and i should have been more carefull. Just to warn anyone though be carefull when in crowded or busy areas.
Keep your guard up. People on vacation tend not to worry about everyday dangers that they normally do while at home. I know I'm that way...I've caught myself letting my guard down while on vacation. Luckily, nothing bad has ever happened.
A while back, there were several series of armed home invasions here in central Florida. What's a home invasion? Go here to find out. Why is this a danger to a tourist? Most of the homes being invaded were those rented by European tourists here on vacation. The invaders knew which houses were rental properties and specifically targeted them. This type of attack was also perpetrated at well-lit and highly visible areas of some popular hotels and motels. What should you do to protect yourself? The options are many.
Here's a good article that explores the possibilities
Keep your guard up and think about safety and you shall have a great time here. Let your guard down and you may end up wishing you never came here.
As you can see Orlando is a very sparse city when it comes to size, scrapers of all shapes and sizes spread around the 'city'. Crime is high in some of the area, though i didn't really witness anything.
Inside Disney World, I think it's probably as safe as can be! I would have no qualms about walking around at night, like around the hotel or wherever. Orlando, though, I would take precautions... just be careful there.
Stay on guard while touring the city. Do not be taken in by the Disneyesque cleanliness of the city. Lock your car and do not leave valuables lying on the car seat or floorboards--put them in the trunk. Use heightened security measures when West of Orange Avenue as this is a known drug area--this is CLOSE to downtown venues including Lake Eola Park--just be alert to your surroundings and to who is around you.
Do be aware of pick pockets and thieves, tourists are targeted. The hire car companies have now realised that it is not a good idea to display the hire car notice as this was causing problems for tourists being targeted by thieves. Also for us Brits driving on the otherside of the road can cause problems as we found out when we pulled out of a car park and found the cars coming towards us on the same side as us blowing their horns - pretty nerve wracking also snakes can be a danger as the Coral snake does hide in the garden and fire ants are also a problem if you do get bitten by a fire ants do seek medical treatment straightaway as their bite can kill if left untreated. Also many of the lakes do contain alligators so if a lake is fenced off, the fence is there for a good reason so stay out unless you really really want to get close to an alligator and I am sure the alligator will appreciate tourist surprise for lunch.
Just take all the usual precautions that you would take anywhere in the world, take ALL your holiday cash in American Express US Dollar travellers cheques, have a little hard cash for when you arrive just for road tolls and immediate expenses, you don't need your passport when you cash cheques and for extra ID take a new style UK Driving Licence with Photo with you, Floridians are really warm and welcoming people treat them with respect and you'll have a great time, if an area looks ' run down' then you are probably best gettin out of it as quickly as possible, if someone bumps you don't stop, indicate for them to follow you and go to the nearest open garage or Police station don't stop in isolated places, think secure and you will be secure, don't carry all your credit cards about in one wallet spread them about, and only carry as much cash or travellers cheques as you think you'll need for the day...lock the others up in the room safe you will all have in your hotel room. ....most of all respect other people as you would have them treat you and you'll have an excellent time...