SOUTH BEND – There's a good chance you budget the way you spend your money each week or month.
Some goes toward groceries and gas, while some makes the house payment or covers daycare costs, but you don't have a lot of control over how and where your tax dollars are spent.
Our Fact Finder team checked on how much it's costing you to have a police substation in downtown South Bend.
Is it a substation splurge or is it making downtown safer?
"We've always been an easy mark," said City-Wide Liquors Beer Manager Daniel Radkey.
City-Wide has seen its share of crime in the 12 years at its Jefferson Street location. Thieves would bust out the windows and try to steal alcohol in the middle of the night.
"For a while there, it almost seemed like one a year," Radkey said.
But lately, he's noticing a trend in the opposite direction.
"I think it's really kind of curtailed a lot of that theft and crime," he added.
Just around the corner, Chicory Cafe owner Philip Schreiber says he plans to start staying open later.
"I think five years ago, downtown was a dying area," he said. "I think with the new things DTSB is doing and the different things South Bend is doing is really helping the downtown grow."
Schreiber and his wife bought the New Orleans-themed cafe last fall partly because of that change.
"Now that they have the DTSB ambassadors, they also have the police substation down here," he said.
The substation opened last June in a Michigan Street store front across the street from the South Bend Chocolate Cafe.
But WSBT noticed officers are rarely there and the door is almost always locked. And it's costing you money!
According to information from the South Bend Police Department, each month the department pays an average of $1,125 in rent and utilities, which adds up to more than $13,000 taxpayer dollars per year.
So, WSBT looked into it a little more, wanting to see just how much the substation is being used. We checked 20 random days in January, all hours of the day and night. Only twice - at 5 a.m. on a Monday and noon on a Friday did we actually find an officer there.
"Actually, it's a satellite office for officers that are out on patrol," explained South Bend Police Capt. Robert Hammer.
Hammer said the substation was never meant to be used 24/7, but it is open and staffed during special events such as the former College Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival, parades or when Santa was downtown.
One officer we spotted inside the substation told us he was catching up on reports.
"The reality of that is, I think people feel safer," Hammer said. "I think there's a misperception of the crime that is downtown or was, and I think [having the sub station there provides] more of a secure feeling for folks to come downtown and to be involved in the commerce and the daily business."
The city also added additional seasonal bike and foot patrols downtown last summer when the substation opened and they claim crime is down since then.
Using crime statistics provided by South Bend Police, WSBT compared the last six months of 2011 with the last six months of 2012 and found the number of reported thefts from vehicles was down by 9 and reported vandalisms dropped by 20. However, reported assaults and batters rose by 6 and the number of robberies to people increased by 1.
"It's endless what you could do there," said South Bend City Council President and police officer Derek Dieter.
Dieter said he doesn't feel the substation has been used to its fullest potential.
"The original premise when former Chief Boykins was there was to use it also as a public relations outlet to have things like weekly donut or fruit with a cop [where people could] come down, a meet and greet where officers could be there," he explained.
But even though cops aren't there all the time, many people who work and live downtown are noticing the difference.
"They're really good about stopping in, just to make sure everything is good with us, make sure we're safe," explained Radkey.
And the cost of having a locked building that says "police" and sometimes has officers working inside seems to accomplish what the city wanted.
"Anytime you have more police presence obviously there's that feel that it's safer," Hammer said.
"I think there's a lot of things you're going to be seeing from downtown a lot more than you used to," Schreiber added. "It's safer, it's cleaner and it's a nice area to be."
In addition to adding officers and the substation downtown, the DTSB or "Downtown South Bend" organization also has employees out in red coats and shirts, year round.
The DTSB "ambassadors" help give visitors directions, shovel sidewalks and keep the streets clean. They've also been trained on how to handle crime if they encounter it and have special radios to contact police.