A conversation with Orlando Police Chief Eric Smith
We all want our families, homes and neighborhoods to be safe. No matter where you live, there are steps you can take to make sure your neighborhood continues to be a safe place to live.
The Orlando Police Department offers so many resources to help inform residents and provide helpful information on how to mitigate crime including a library of online resources, community events, and neighborhood watch programs.
We asked Orlando Police Chief Eric Smith for his recommendations and tips to help keep you and your family safe and prevent crime in our community.
Let’s start with the basics. What are some safety fundamentals people should know?
We always stress – see something, say something. Be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts. Especially if you’re outside or in less populated areas of your community.
There are some great walking trails in the Lake Nona area. Always try to walk or jog in groups and carry cell phones. Always tell your loved ones where you are going to be if you are going somewhere alone. Orlando Police officers patrol all city neighborhoods. Get to know the officers that patrol your area and the Lake Nona Orlando Police Liaison, Officer Edgar Malave.
What can residents do to proactively mitigate crime?
Burglaries are the most common crimes that we see residents experience.
For vehicle burglaries, always lock your vehicles, close windows, set alarms, do not leave personal property in plain view, do not leave spare keys in vehicles, and park in a well-lit area.
For homeowners, you can call our Community Relations Division and a District Liaison officer can do a safety assessment (CPTED – Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design). They will provide recommendations on how you can secure your homes such as:
- Ensure windows and doors are locked
- Keep shrubs trimmed bellow 2-3 feet
- Keep tree canopy above 6 feet
- Exterior lighting should be used where available
- Use security system when available
- Do not leave valuable property outside such as bicycles
What are signs thieves look for?
They look for easy access and people who are unaware of their surroundings. That’s why it is important that you are always aware of your surroundings and follow common crime prevention practices.
What should people do if they see suspicious activity?
Always call 9-1-1 if it’s an emergency. You can report certain crimes online as well by visiting orlando.gov/police.
What are some resources the Orlando Police Department offers for residents?
Definitely get involved with your local neighborhood watch. You can sign up by reaching out to your local neighborhood watch block captain or by visiting our website orlando.gov/police.
Citizen Connect is Orlando Police Department’s new and interactive incident data website that lets our community get access to law enforcement services, stay informed of alerts, and experience an interactive map that provides information of where certain incidents occurred in the City of Orlando. You can go click here to view the interactive map.