Changes to Orlando's bike patrol means more officers downtown

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ORLANDO, Fla. - It used to be when you looked down Orange Avenue during the day there were Orlando police officers on bike patrol everywhere -- at the courthouse, in building lobbies and along the sidewalks.
 
The owners of one downtown store said the officers' presence was enough to keep crime away.
 
"We definitely need (police) presence. Bike cops are always good to have around," said business owner Basem Yunis.
 
But reorganization more than a year ago took some of that security away.
 
Initially the unit patrolled an area from Orange Avenue to Summerlin Avenue. But with the reorganization the area the officers covered was expanded and they spent much of their time on the other side of Interstate 4, well away from Orange Avenue.
 
But now things have changed, and the officers are back on their old beat.
 
Part of that reason, officers told Channel 9, is the complaints they have received since they were gone. Business owners said they had more problems with trespassing and loitering.
 
"There was a lot of homeless hanging around after hours. (Police) would patrol and always check that area before," said Yunis.
 
The officers didn't have the exact numbers on the rise in calls for service while their presence in the area was reduced, but they said, they would get a least one complaint a day from downtown business owners. That was in addition to calls to 911.
 
The bike unit will have one sergeant and eight officers patrolling the area. They will be in the area from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m., every day of the week.
 
The night bike patrol unit will still be working normal shifts.