West Toledo residents deserve a thorough cost-benefit analysis of the Police Department's Northwest district station on Sylvania Avenue before City Council decides the building's fate.
The station closed June 29; patrols haven't operated from it since 2008. Still, local residents liken it to a police cruiser parked along the side of a road to deter crime. But Mayor Mike Bell's administration says the building is a drain on city finances that fails to generate tax revenue.
Neighborhood activists have gathered 575 signatures from residents who want to keep the station open, even with a skeletal crew. Whether they can make an adequate case that the building's presence provides valuable psychological comfort, even if it no longer dissuades many criminals, isn't clear.
Toledo faces large obstacles, financial and otherwise, in its fight against violent crime. Police officials argue that a more- centralized command is a better use of the department's limited manpower. Even so, residents continue to regard the Northwest station as a vital amenity.
There may be logic to keeping a substation in a neighborhood that has gotten used to seeing a police sign out front. The number of crimes the substation has deterred cannot be determined objectively, but the sense of comfort it provides seems to be worth something.
Neither advocates nor opponents of preserving the substation have made a conclusive case. Neither side may be able to do that. But those who want to keep the substation have shown they at least deserve more careful consideration.