Staying safe: Some tips from OPD

Since public safety is always top of mind for all of us, I wanted to let Corporal Kevlon Kirkpatrick commandeer my column this month to share some important information. He is a wonderful resource, and I am grateful for his compassionate and dedicated service to our community for the past 12 years. Take it away, Kev …

Corporal Kevlon Kirkpatrick

Thanks, Commissioner Stuart, for this opportunity. While there are many topics to cover, in this article, I want to cover the topics of security surveys, solicitation, and what to do if you are a victim of identity theft.
Free security surveys for your home or business:
One of my favorite parts of my job is meeting with residents and providing tips on how to make their homes and businesses less of a target, hopefully providing a little peace of mind in the process. To schedule your free security survey, call 407-246-2369, or email me at As a reminder, please review these basic residential security tips:
—Address numbers should always be visible from the street.
—Keep bushes and shrubs under 2 feet high.
—Lock all fence gates.
—Replace the screws in the strike plate of your front door with 2- to 3-inch screws. This makes it more difficult for intruders to break the door in.
—Make sure your bolt locks are at least 1 inch in length.
What is solicitation? Solicitation is a request for donations of money, property, or financial assistance of any kind. It can take many forms — from bake sales to requesting money from passersby in the heart of downtown (please don’t confuse with panhandling, which is covered in another part of our code). Most individuals and groups who want to solicit in the City of Orlando are required to register. As a homeowner, you are absolutely within your rights to ask the individual or group if they have registered and ask to see proof of registration. Certain groups and some solicitation activities are exempt from the registration requirement. People associated with election campaigns, schools, or a governmental agency are normally exempt from the registration requirements. Some conduct is prohibited even if a group has registered, and that includes harassment, solicitation at an ATM, and entering a private property where a “No Solicitors” sign is posted. If you ever feel uncomfortable, err on the side of caution and call 911. While we must respect an individual or group’s right to solicit, we must also work to protect our citizens from harassment and intimidation.
Identity theft:
Identity theft happens when someone steals your personal information and uses it without your permission. It is a serious crime that unfortunately, in today’s fast-paced and technology-filled world, happens too often. If you are a victim, please take these steps immediately: —Place an Initial Fraud Alert with one of the major credit reporting companies, which then entitles you to a free credit report. —Submit a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission ( Print a copy of the completed report, which will serve as your Identity Theft Affidavit. —File a police report. If you are a City resident, you can call our non-emergency line at 321-235-5300 and have an officer respond, or you can call our Fraud Line at 407-246-4012 and leave a message.

For those who think their credit card information was obtained through a skimmer at a gas station pump, please call the police in that jurisdiction, so we can investigate and try to spare more people from becoming victims. While some may be weary of what seems like extra steps when you are already dealing with so much, filing these reports helps victims gain access to all the legal benefits to which they are entitled. Thanks to Commissioner Stuart for letting me borrow his column this month. I look forward to seeing you all around the neighborhood. Please stay safe, and if you aren’t already a member, please consider joining our Neighborhood Watch program

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