by Tom Isler | March 01, 2008

March 1993 coverFifteen years ago this month, M&C ran a cover story on how “urban ills” affected the meetings industry. Convention and visitor bureau executives from Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles and New York City responded to criticisms of unsafe or unsightly downtowns.

Today, crime in these cities is down -- way down. In Atlanta, violent crime has dropped by more than 50 percent, setting a 33-year low in 2005. Detroit changed its crime reporting methodology in 2005, but over the decade ending in 2004, the city experienced a 40 percent decrease in major crime categories. In 2007, Los Angeles recorded the fewest serious violent and property crimes since 1963. In New York City, between 1993 and 2006, violent and property crime each dropped by 66 percent.

Mark Vaughan, executive vice president of the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau, points to the 1996 Olympics as a catalyst for change downtown. The convention corridor now is “one of the safest places in the region,” he says.