The impact of crime on Detroit’s Image
But how does the rest of the world see us?
Larry Alexander, President and CEO of the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitor’s Bureau says, “There’s a perception out there that this is an unsafe city for people to visit and come to. And we know that’s not entirely the case.”
The online travel site, Gadling.com, recently put Detroit at the top of its list of “American Destinations to Avoid in 2013.” The article claims law and order have broken down in the city.
But Alexander says our downtown is extremely safe, “When you look at the millions of people who come in and visit us on a consistent basis, we rarely have any incidents that happen downtown.”
That’s why Alexander is angry about an article in a local newspaper which said visitors account for 16% of murder victims in Detroit. He says that number includes a lot of metro Detroit suburbanites, “When that gets picked up by our trade journals and by newspapers in other parts of the country, it creates this impression that visitors — the true definition of visitors from a tourism standpoint are the ones being harmed here. That’s really not true.”
That story was picked up by UPI.com which reached 4-million people each month.
It is Alexander’s job to sell the city to the rest of the nation and the world. It’s an occupation that certainly has its challenges. But it may not be as difficult as we might think.
We asked our sister stations in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, Tulsa and Phoenix to ask their residents what one thing they most associated with Detroit. No one said blight, only one person said crime. We most often heard “cars” or some other reference to the auto industry.
So what’s the lesson here? We can be our own worst enemies. So help us spread the word about the good things. When you see an interesting article, share it with your friends out of town.
As Alexander told us, “The more people we can have coming and leaving money here, it helps with the development of our roads, it helps with jobs, it helps with more attractions, it brings more tax dollars into our destination.