The Halton Regional Police Service has closed its downtown Burlington substation at the end of the April following an extensive internal and external review. The substation, located at 760 Brant Street south of Caroline Street, opened in 2007 when 3 District moved from its former downtown location on Locust Street to Constable Henshaw Boulevard.
According to information from the police, since that time the number of people attending the substation has been on the decline. In 2016, only six reports were generated from visitors; the vast majority stopped to ask for directions or to turn in found property.
The decrease in attendance can be largely attributed to advances in technology which have changed the way members of the public interact with the police. Key among these is social media like Twitter and Facebook which enable users to obtain information and advice on a range of police-related matters.
In Halton, other advances include the introduction of online crime reporting, a mobile app for iOS and Android and Text to 9-1-1. All – in addition to traditional 9-1-1 for emergencies and crimes in progress or 905-825-4777 for non-emergencies – make it possible for people to receive 24 hour a day, seven day a week police support without having to attend a police station.
It is thus anticipated that the closure of the Burlington substation will not impact the ability of those in need to get the right response, at the right time, by the right responders.
With more online tools for information and reporting available, police told us the sub-station was beginning to function more like a visitor information centre. These resources can now be put into more enforcement and on-the-street presence, which is really what the community wants and has steadily increased in recent years.