Thursday, October 9, 2014

Brazil/Florida: Update--Orlando Criminals Target Brazilians

According to http://www.wftv.comOrlando has been making big news in Brazil, though they are not the kinds of headlines central Florida tourism officials would prefer to see.

A new report is warning tourists that they're in danger of being targeted by criminals. 

The Orlando Police Department has two dedicated crime squads in the tourist district, including a substation along International Drive, to better serve visitors from across the world who may fall victim to crime during their stay. 

"People call me from Brazil that are concerned," said Brazil native Frank Oliveira.

A recent news report in Brazil cites the Brazilian Consulate in Miami saying crime against Brazilian tourists has increased 91% year-to-year in Orlando.

COMMENT: "Have you been warned about the crime here in Orlando?" Channel 9 reporter Anthony DiLorenzo asked tourist Andreia Braga. 

"Yes, in Brazil by Facebook," Braga said.

A social media post describes a rash of hotel robberies.

"It's a thing that makes us afraid," said Braga.

Last spring, a Brazilian was roughed up and robbed on International Drive.

Crimes of this type have some reconsidering their vacation plans.

 "When they start hearing about crime here it becomes ironic to them," said business owner Alejandro Pezzini.

Officials said Brazilians spend over $1 billion in Orlando each year. They are among Orlando's most faithful visitors.

Area business owners hope concern expressed by visitors from Brazil is an alarm bell for local officials.

"We have to address it sooner than later. We don't want to lose visitors from Brazil," said Pezzini. 

Many of the Brazilians who spoke with DiLorenzo said it is difficult to get justice.

In some instances criminal cases are dropped because the international tourists don't want to deal with the drawn out judicial process. 

On Thursday night (October 9) a Brazilian tourist was robbed of $40 at gunpoint outside a Quality Inn on Sand Lake Road. There has not been an arrest in that case.

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