Commissioner Stuart’s Message
As we all focus on different facets of our holiday preparation, I wanted to tell you about a wonderful new tool that may be able to help you find local restaurants, shops, and services that will help simplify your season.
The new app, DistrX, is free for consumers and is available for iPhone and Android. It will allow you to browse commercial districts here in Orlando, and when you are traveling, to find out about upcoming events and current merchant offers. You can set alerts on the app to send a notification when you enter a Main Street district. It also allows you to personalize your interests and receive notifications when things you like are happening. As many have studies have shown, when you spend $100 at a national chain, $43 stays in the local economy; when you spend $100 at a local business, $73 stays right here. Check out distrx.com for more information about the application and the program itself.
I love Orlando year-round, but I really love our Great City around the holidays. There is a certain spirit of giving and unity that permeates the air. It is a wonderful time to enjoy great events as well.
Lake Eola will be bustling with activity, including Friday night holiday movies throughout the month of December. With classics like Elf and A Christmas Story, these movies are sure to get you in to a festive spirit. Enjoy a great festival and parade at the Winter Spark in Baldwin Park on December 10th from 4-9 p.m. Also, enjoy a special free performance of The Nutcracker by the Russian Ballet at the Walt Disney World Amphitheater at Lake Eola on Saturday, December 17th at 7:30 p.m. For more information on all of the great holiday happenings, visit cityoforlando.net.
While most of us are enjoying this friendly atmosphere, there are some who might see the holidays as an opportunity to take advantage of our trust. Everyone is especially busy during the holidays, but please continue to be prepared and be aware of your surroundings. Like me, how many times have you come out of a store after a successful holiday shopping trip, only to set your bags down to search your pocket or purse for your keys? Or you come out of the mall and forget exactly where you parked? Or had to do some last-minute shopping during the late evening hours and parked in a not-well-lit area? Or left your shopping bags clearly visible on the front or back seat of your car while you ran one last errand? Or for the moms and dads out there, have you ever left your car door open with your bags or purse on the seat while you fold up the stroller or strap your children into their car seats?
Every year, OPD sees a slight uptick in crimes of opportunity, residential break-ins, vehicle break-ins and robberies near shopping areas during the holiday season. Our Orlando Police Department works hard to combat this with specific holiday tactical squads, but we need your partnership to help prevent these crimes by taking common sense precautions AND by SAYING SOMETHING if you SEE SOMETHING. The scenarios I outlined are good examples of ones we can easily avoid with a little preparation before we go in search of the holy grail of gifts for our loved ones.
Many of us also tend to carry more cash on our person during this time of year and utilize more ATMs. Try to carry with you only the amount of cash you need, and if you must use an ATM, try to use one that is inside or in a very well-lighted area. Please never throw your ATM receipt away at the ATM location in order to avoid identity theft.
At home, you may want to reconsider putting a tree with gifts underneath on display through your front window. And when putting your trash curbside after the holidays, break down any boxes from high-end items so as not to advertise what type of property is in your home. And if you do purchase or receive any big-ticket items, such as a computer, iPad, or big screen t.v., be sure to record all serial numbers and put them in a safe place. If you are going out of town, ask a neighbor to pick up your mail and/or newspaper. Put a few indoor and outdoor lights on an automatic timer so that the house looks occupied.
Lastly, keep the OPD non-emergency number (321-235-5300) stored in your cell phone and please call, call, call!
As we are poised to ring in the New Year, let me express my personal thanks for your support of our District 3 staff, our city professionals, our local neighborhood and homeowner groups. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and best wishes to you and your family for a prosperous 2017!
Commissioner Robert Stuart