With a zero tolerance crime policy, the Metrowest master association is making Metrowest Orlando’s safest neighborhood according to an Orlando Sentinel article on June 22, 2o07. With a zero tolerance crime policy, the Metrowest master association is making Metrowest Orlando’s safest neighborhood according to an Orlando Sentinel article on June 22, 2o07.
MetroWest now enjoys the kind of permanent police presence that Windermere has had for years. With its newly formed special Orlando Police Department (OPD) MetroWest Unit and a multi-pronged Safe Neighborhood Program the MetroWest Master Association has made MetroWest Orlando’s safest neighborhood. “Nothing beats a well-trained professional police unit for getting and keeping MetroWest crime to zero. We have advantages over other neighborhoods because we are able to partner with the OPD, the area’s best trained, most professional police force,” said Betty Reed, Master Association Director.
Metrowest Crime Sats
When crime began creeping up last year the causes were difficult to immediately identify. What wasn’t difficult to understand was the cost of crime to the community; everyone in MetroWest was looking for an answer. The boldest and most immediately effective move was to form the special OPD MetroWest Unit comprising some of OPD’s best officers who work off-duty for the special unit. On March 29th the Orlando Sentinel reported that “Hired Guns” were going to patrol MetroWest. In fact, the special OPD unit had already been put into place.
Association paying for security, but at less than $20 per year per MetroWest homeowner, the overwhelming majority of MetroWest owners are happy with the results of their investment.”
OPD Special Unit Is Keepin’ It Safe
“Since this program was launched, we’ve seen MetroWest’s residents and businesses express a sigh of relief. In fact, MetroWest is able to report fewer criminal incidents than nearby upscale communities that tout ‘safe’ reputations,” said Simback.
The patrols have been effective because their efforts are managed carefully with tracking programs providing constant information about potential problems in the neighborhood. The OPD special unit officers meet regularly face-to-face with Reed and Simback to assess results and receive input from residents and business owners, who are invited to attend the meetings. The OPD officers also attend Homeowner Association meetings in neighborhoods throughout MetroWest as part of the outreach component of the Safe Neighborhood initiative.
Simback noted that the Master Association will continue the OPD Special Unit permanently with the goal of keeping the incidence of crime at zero.
“Making MetroWest the safest neighborhood in Orlando means obliterating even small crimes, like speeding,” he said. “With OPD on the scene, even petty crime has been stopped dead in its tracks.”
MetroWest resident and Master Association board member Kelley Powell said that creating the special OPD unit was necessary to preserve MetroWest’s property values, which could have taken a considerable hit if crime hadn’t been addressed.
“I am fully invested in MetroWest; I love it here; I live here and work here. Watching the crime get knocked out, as evidenced by the City’s data, is like a breath of fresh air,” she said. “If you live in MetroWest now, you are living in one of the safest neighborhoods in Central Florida.”
“The hiring of off-duty Orlando Police Officers to patrol and protect the MetroWest area is indicative of true commitment, leadership and responsibility,” said Orlando City Commissioner Samuel B. Ings, Mayor Pro Tem District 6. “The MetroWest Master Association is to be commended for taking bold and positive steps on ensuring the safety and security of its residents, visitors and businesses within the MetroWest community.”
n July, the Master Association will launch the monthly “MetroMixer” networking happy hour at Barnie’s for MetroWest residents.
Changes In Environmental Design Increase Safety
The Master Association also is having all of MetroWest assessed according to the standards of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) and is making changes where problem areas are identified.
CPTED employs crime prevention principles that are easily and inexpensively applied to buildings and common areas, creating a crime prevention environment.
“CPTED teaches that crime prevention can be enhanced by something as simple as trimming bushes that have grown too tall,” said Simback. “A key strategy of CPTED is keeping potential intruders easily observable by maximizing visibility.“
Homebuyers, Business Owners Choose MetroWest
The real estate market in MetroWest has remained vigorous. According to the Orlando Regional Realtor Association, MetroWest had the second highest number of single family closings (1,006) in all of Orange and Seminole counties in 2006. In first place, with 1,008 closings, was Waterford Lakes.
And new businesses are opening in MetroWest at an astounding rate. Recent additions to the neighborhood include Miroza of MetroWest, Hurricane Grill and Wings, and Tessa Wine & Cigar Bar.
A safer MetroWest is important to all West Orange County, both residential communities and commercial entities, according to Stina D’Uva, West Orange Chamber of Commerce President and 18-year MetroWest resident.
“MetroWest is tied to all of the communities in West Orange County and when one suffers the rest could follow,” said D’Uva. “Improving the situation in MetroWest is beneficial to all of West Orange because it helps to maintain and actually improve upon the MetroWest neighborhood that many of us have come to love for nearly two decades.”