ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. -- Police said 10 new cameras were installed and a $500,000 grant was awarded to combat crime in the heart of Orlando's tourist district. However, officers say even with all these initiatives, they can't be everywhere all the time.
Tourists typically walk up and down International Drive at all hours. In the past year, an International Transit Team was created to combat crime. More deputies and officers were hired, but over the past weekend there were two armed robberies in the International Drive area. One robbery was in the Portofino Bay parking lot and the other at the Ramada Inn.
"These people were terrified and it was quite traumatic," said Ramada manager Carrie Amador. "To come here for his birthday and his mother had a gun to her head."
Amador said she called 911 after her customers, a Brazilian family with a four-year-old child was held up in the parking lot around 11:30 Friday night. A gunman snatched the 4-year-old child from his mother's arms and demanded she hand over her backpack.
"Grabs her, points a gun at her head and pulls their child. It's scary that crime is escalating I think there is a lot of desperate people out there," said Amador.
Even though that is Amador's perception, the numbers tell a different story. An Orlando spokesperson says crime is actually down. The department believes adding more patrols and a task force have worked.
In 2008, there were a total of 42 robberies. During this time last year there were only 12 robberies compared to 7 in 2009.
"Our numbers are coming down we would like to have no one be a victim, but that is not a reality unfortunately," said Sgt. Barbara Jones of the Orlando Police Department.
There was also a third armed robbery at the Mall of Millennia area on Friday night. Detectives are looking to see if that case is linked the I-drive cases.