Security a concern as new venues set to open near downtown Orlando


ORLANDO, Fla. - The Orlando Police Department spent Wednesday looking back on its crime fighting successes but a new challenge in 2014 is making plans for all those people who will be heading to new events downtown, whether at the Amway Center, the renovated Citrus Bowl or the future soccer stadium.

Channel 9's Jorge Estevez said the need for security is a reality with so many more people drawn to downtown once the venues are completed.

Those attending some the events will have to make their way from downtown and through Parramore, a part of town that until a few years ago wasn't considered safe.

"We realize we will be introducing a lot more people into the heart of Parramore," said Mayor Buddy Dyer.

Channel 9 asked Dyer what the plan was to keep the crime numbers down in the New Year with the new venues opening up.

"We always make sure we prepare for any event that may be," said Dyer.

But security will be a major concern for the tens of thousands of fans who will head downtown to cheer on the new MLS soccer team at the proposed stadium, which will be located in the heart of Parramore.

"It is going to be a big win for the city of Orlando, but we are up for the challenge," said Deputy Chief Robert Pigman.

Pigman said it's not so much the crime but the traffic that will present the biggest challenge.

"Mostly a traffic plan, but once we get that developed it will be the same thing every time," he said.

But still, with added venues comes more events and more people, which is something Chief Paul Rooney said his team is used to handling.

"Even with the increase in residences, businesses, and a growth in tourism and employment, we are still able to reduce crime," said Rooney.

On Wednesday Channel 9 learned there is no immediate plan for any specific security detail around the venues area, but one will evolve once the soccer stadium and Citrus Bowl improvements are complete.