Safe and Dangerous Places in Orlando

Areas to Avoid Orlando


Orlando, Fla., is one of the top tourist destinations of the world. And just as with any other destination, there are those parts of the city that are perfectly safe, and those that are dangerous to lost tourists. Some areas are safer than others and some are more dangerous than others. We are going to look at the three safest areas and the three main areas to avoid in Orlando.

Safest areas

No. 1 should be no surprise. Walt Disney World is the safest place to be in the Orlando area. Crime is committed here but it's rare. From the moment you pass the large Mickey gates, you are on camera. Look carefully at those ornate lampposts, the parking posts and the entrance and exit signs; chances are that you are staring at a security camera. Disney World has its own police force with more advanced technology and systems than a lot of police departments.

While officially, it's Orange County Sheriff's territory, the security employees for Disney have either a military or law enforcement background and can handle many difficult situations. Every resort property and park has a gate with security in the front -- and they routinely search bags for weapons, bombs, etc. Every parking lot has a trolling turbo cart with security officers watching cars and visitors. The stores have undercover officers, as well as one-way mirrors. Disney's security works 24/7, even patrolling the closed parks. Any potential criminals in an attempt to take advantage of Disney guests won't make it off of the property without being photographed -- hundreds of times.

Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure are also safe. Like Disney, there are cameras and security officers everywhere. There are the undercover officers, the electric carts that zip through the parking lot. They come in at No. 2 because, unlike Disney, there are a few blind spots in Universal's security -- not enough to make the area in any way dangerous but enough to knock it into second. One blind spot is in the parking garages. Where Disney will have clearly visible guards driving by on a regular basis, Universal has fewer guards looking after a smaller area than their competition. There are emergency phones located within the garage on every other post in case a security guard is not within shouting distance. Another blind spot is in portions of the CityWalk area. While cameras are prevalent, the CityWalk area does not require a ticket purchase and there are a few areas between buildings where foot traffic, and eyewitnesses, are scarce.

The third-safest is the Mall at Millenia area off Conroy Road. The mall is beautiful and full of shops for the whole family. The security here is tight, because of the high-end merchandise. The valet parking will deter anyone from shopping in your car, and the regular patrols of the police vehicles (Krispy Kreme is across the street from the mall) will discourage any open attacks here. A note of caution: During a busy Christmas season, it was reported that some shoppers from the mall were followed home if they were seen carrying valuable merchandise. No attacks took place on the property.

Areas to avoid

What about the most dangerous places, those with high crime rates? Here are some areas you might want to avoid in Orlando. No. 1 is the west side of Interstate 4 in downtown Orlando. This crime-ridden section is located in a diamond-shaped area between I-4 and 408. While there are a few residents in this area who are there because they moved in before the neighborhood became what it is today, it is common for muggings, robberies, drug deals and more to occur here. It is an area populated with prostitutes, drug addicts and gang members. This area reaches into the sections called Carver Shores and Pine Hills, known to locals as "Crime Hills". A wrong turn around Universal Studios just three miles down Kirkman Road can put you directly into the middle of Pine Hills. Another wrong turn off Kirkman near Universal in the other direction can put you into the second most dangerous area:

Tangelo Park, just off of Sand Lake Road behind International Drive and Kirkman Road. This neighborhood once served as a navy base in Orlando; but now, drug dealers stand on the corners, literally with an open raincoat showing off their products. There is one way in and one way out of this neighborhood. Turning down one of the many side streets leads only to dead ends and possible ambushes. Cab drivers and pizza delivery places will not service this area at night. Some have even been robbed in broad daylight because it became too common for residents to set up an ambush down one of the side streets to relieve the drivers of their money. The small gas station on the corner has been shut down, sold and purchased by new owners a number of times because it has been robbed repeatedly.

The third area to avoid is the road known in Orlando as OBT, or Orange Blossom Trail. The section of the road from north of Rosemont to the Turnpike South is one of the most crime-ridden areas of Orlando. Locals are familiar with the area because of the plentiful supply of prostitutes and adult-oriented entertainment centers. It is a local joke for a woman to say that she works on OBT, even if she works a legitimate job with a location that just so happens to be on that street.

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