News from the Top

Safety Downtown


I fear the media noise surrounding crime and public safety in urban centers will only increase in the weeks and months ahead, especially as it becomes a cornerstone of local and national election cycles. We know the data from our urban centers and commercial neighborhoods does not support the rampant claims portrayed in the news, however, we also know perception is more often the reality.

The professional place management industry is rooted in clean and safe operations throughout the public realm for which we manage. Increasing, I am witnessing numerous emerging organizations who opine on innovative solutions and interventions to address safety concerns and support people in need in our public spaces. The startling reality, however, is the strategies professed to be innovative are, in fact, the same professional practices IDA members have developed and deployed for decades.

Individually as organizations, and collectively as an industry, we must increase communications of the statistical facts, further illustrate public safety accomplishments, and continue to educate the media on the nuanced complexities of the challenges we pursue. Future public relations campaigns surrounding activations, back to work strategies, new openings and such, need to illustrate the safety effectiveness of supplemental place management to the work our municipal partners provide. We can seize this moment to demonstrate the value of place management organizations and the essential nature of our work.

Headlines suggesting our cities are unsafe will continue. We will witness hyperbole in political discourse, regardless of the crime and safety issues. Let us use this opportunity to demonstrate and illustrate both the wonderful experiences our center cities offer, the economic and civic value a vibrant downtown brings to the entire community, and the incredible successes our organizations, especially our ambassador teams on the streets, deliver each and every day.