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Published: Thursday, 2/21/2013

Deterrent or drain?

Toledo's new budget includes $100,000 to reopen the Police Department’s Northwest District station on Sylvania Avenue. Staffing the station desk with an officer or two may not be as impractical as critics assert.

But it also seems likely to do little more than provide psychological comfort and the perception of greater safety, while it risks drawing resources from advanced crime-prevention efforts.

West Toledo residents petitioned City Council members to allocate enough money to operate the station, although Mayor Mike Bell’s administration says it has no plans to reopen the facility.

Police officials say they prefer to focus on more tech-savvy efforts, such as new surveillance cameras. The administration has documented an overall drop in crime in high-risk areas where the cameras have been placed. They are having their greatest effect curbing traffic offenses, such as speeding and red-light running. Evidence of crime prevention ought to trump wishful thinking.

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