A couple weeks ago we talked about safety in downtown Sioux Falls after a city survey said 34 percent of those polled felt downtown is either somewhat or very unsafe after dark.
That number shocked Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether—especially in light of the progress downtown has seen over the past few years.
Thursday night, KSFY news reporter Bridget Bennett took a walk around downtown with the Mayor for a closer look at safety downtown.
Police officers who work the downtown area say that feeling unsafe downtown is more of a perception than a reality, as police say its actually one of the safer neighborhoods in town.
Mayor Huether talked more about that perception on our walk and how he hopes to change it.
"We're still trying to get over the perception of the past, what downtown used to be," said Huether.
In the past, the notorious loop and vacant building made many people feel unsafe downtown.
"Now it's the opposite, we had 30 businesses open or expand in Downtown Sioux Falls just last year," said Huether.
Many of those businesses are why so many people are flocking downtown.
"You've got Minerva's, you've got the Washington Pavilion, the Orpheum, you've got the diner and so much more," said Huether.
The people we met downtown tonight had no issues with safety.
"If you were here without these three strong guys and you were alone, how would you feel," Mayor Huether asked Sioux Falls resident Lexie Jacobsen.
"No different than I do right now," said Jacobsen.
"I live down here and I've lived in other larger cities and I don't feel that this is unsafe in any way," said Downtown Resident Mike Frankman.
Huether says the demand for Downtown housing is just another sign of its prosperity.
"It's not that it's a great place to work, not that is a great place to play, but it's a place that you want to live," said Huether.
It's also a place that people want to visit; we caught up with two hotel guest who stay in downtown Sioux Falls every year.
The two visitors said they prefer the local restaurants and businesses downtown verses the mall scene, but even they admit downtown has it's issues.
"There were some street people who came up to us in the hotel but you know that happens," said one of the visitors.
It's an issue the Mayor and local law enforcement are looking to improve, but as Huether says, it's a challenge he's sure they'll be able to meet.
"As long as I'm the mayor here, I'm always going to be reaching for more, and cheering on people to do more," said Huether.
Huether says the best way to improve the perception of safety downtown is for people to visit downtown and see the changes for themselves.