Quite often people feel more safe knowing that things are well lit. Also, it is common knowledge that criminals and ill-minded people wanting to do something illegal or immoral, prefer darkened spaces rather than well-lit ones. Motion detection lights can be a good option for a single family home but they are not always the smartest choice for every building. At many homes there are not many passers by, human and otherwise, to trigger them into being on longer than they are off.
I live in an area of the country with many historic buildings and neighborhoods however, historic buildings don't always have to be decades or centuries old. Buildings officially deemed historic can often have massive headaches with various boards and regulations that must approve every change before it happens. An issue with even slightly older buildings (historic or not), those just several years old, is that the larger they are the more expensive it is to remove old lighting and install motion detection lights. If they are historic buildings, various structures or decorative elements can be damaged or destroyed in the process which doesn't really create much of a ROI when attempting to save energy or money on lighting.
In historic applications costs of installation drive costs up further due to owners having to find very specific styles, materials, sizes, having to have them approved and lessens the incentive for owners to switch to motion detection lights if they are even available in the very specific styles, materials, sizes, etc. that fit the historic look of the building/neighborhood. Further, there are some applications where motion detection lights will stay on from dusk til dawn simply due to the movements of people, cars, and animals. Large buildings that aren't historic still have high costs with little return on the investment to the owners shelling out for it.