Performing collinear laser spectroscopy on low intensity radioactive beams requires sensitive detection techniques. We explain our apparatus to detect atomic resonances in neutralized 208–210Fr ion beams at beam energies of 5 keV and intensities of 105 s-1. Efficient neutralization (≥80%) is accomplished by passing the beam through a dense Rb vapor. Increased detection efficiency is achieved by amplitude modulating the exciting laser to decrease the scattered light background, allowing fluorescence detection only when the laser is near its minimum in the modulation cycle. Using this technique in a collinear geometry we achieve a background reduction by a factor of 180 and a signal-to-noise increase of 2.2, with the lifetime of the atomic state playing a role in the efficiency of this process. Such laser modulation will also produce sidebands on the atomic spectra which we illustrate.