SPOKANE, Wash. -

Spokane police are working to drive down crime by increasing their presence downtown by opening a substation next to the STA Bus Plaza.

There are about eight officers who patrol downtown Spokane but now, instead of being based at the Public Safety Building across the river, they'll be based out of the substation, making their response times to problems much faster.

Full-time officers, reserve officers, and volunteers will man the substation. The department may also add a police captain to the new substation soon. The substation's goal is to increase the police presence downtown and reduce the crime rate.

"This is a major movement in that direction," Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub said.

Straub said downtown crime has dropped since eight officers started heavily patrolling the area. This year, compared to last year, crime is down 14-percent downtown, commercial burglaries are down 33-percent and residential burglaries dropped 50-percent.

The new substation will help drop those percentages even more.

"It makes sense, I think, to be close to a hub where you have a constant movement of people in and out," Straub said.

The Downtown Spokane Partnership is paying to lease the location from the Peyton Building so the city won't be left the bill.

The building manager said they were given a good deal after building owners tried having everything from security guards to mosquito noise devices to keep loiterers away.

"Just one part of a broader strategy to continue to enhance the experience that people have who live work and play downtown," Mark Richard with the Downtown Spokane Partnership said.

The substation will serve as a prototype and, if successful, the Spokane Police Department may open more of them around the city.

"The first of our efforts, it will be a continuing effort to really put our facilities, mostly our people, close to those we serve," Spokane Mayor David Condon said.

The new plan also means seven new parking spots for the police department to make it easier for the officers who are not based here, to stop by.