Dallas Needs This: iPhone App for 311

090817-iburgh-02I’ve been wanting something like this for awhile now, and glad some city finally did it (I just wish it were Dallas): an iPhone app that lets residents snap photos of nuisances and code violations and send them off to city hall (geo-tagged, no less).

Pittsburgh beat us to the punch, but there’s no need for Dallas to be left out of the tech party. With our city’s budget cuts, anything we can do to make city services run more efficiently is welcome, especially when the City Manager has proposed cutting 311 from 24 hours/day to 7am-7pm daily.

Anyone who sees a code violation can snap a pic, upload, and be done with it, without having to (a) sit on hold with a 311 operator forever or (b) remember all the relevant location/violation info for later input into the 311 website (assuming you don’t forget).

And no more confusion about incorrect addresses (look at picture; compare to reality; done). Plus, the city’s got tangible evidence of an alleged violation and can evaluate the problem before going out to investigate.

I like this on lots of levels and will be asking our City Manager to investigate. But I want a Blackberry version, too.

Improving Code Enforcement

Two years ago, the Council’s Public Safety Committee requested improvements to 311 and the Code Compliance Department. The Council’s Quality of Life Committee was briefed today on the status of those improvements.

There are some good benchmarks indicating positive changes: In 2004, the backlog of unassigned cases was 16,800. Today, that’s been reduced to 1,113. In 2003, the average time for complaints to be resolved was 64 days. Today, it’s 16 days, with only .1% overdue.

Part of the problem was also 311 input training. That’s been accomplished and is ongoing. A reconfiguration of the 311 system was also completed, allowing calltakers to give residents the estimated time the problem will be addressed and automating assignment of code complaints to code inspectors.

Other changes include providing a means to update residents on their complaints, conducting field audits to ensure inspectors are doing their jobs correctly, and working more closely with the City Attorney’s Office.

I would like your feedback. Do you see positive changes in 311 and Code Enforcement? Where do improvements still need to be made? Email me at angela@angelahunt.com