If you haven’t heard of the Blockboard App, I’d encourage you to go check it out. They are a local startup, and they describe the app as:
Blockboard is the app for your neighborhood! It uses your iPhone to connect you with your neighbors, keep you up-to-date on what’s happening nearby, and help you make your neighborhood a better place. Blockboard is currently available for neighborhoods in San Francisco.
The folks over at sf.govfresh published a case study using data from the Blockboard app, in particular looking at city response times to various complaints. But before I get to that, if you haven’t heard of govfresh, you could think of them as a Gov 2.0 movement, and they describe themselves as:
GovFresh works to inspire government-citizen collaboration and build a more engaged democracy. We feature public servant innovators, civic entrepreneurs and the ideas and technology that are changing how government works.
Anyway, after crunching the data it turns out the city is really good at responding to litter complaints, but complaints about graffiti stay open for an incredibly long time. And the reason for the slow response to graffiti complaints? Current city ordinance. You see, it turns out that the way city policy is currently drafted, the owner of the property that has been tagged with graffiti currently has to be given a fairly long period of time to respond to the graffiti complaint and clean it up themselves.
Only after that time period has elapsed can the city go in and clean up the graffiti.
Given the number of complaints I hear about graffiti, and it’s immediate visual impact on a neighborhood, it seems like a reconsideration of the city policy is in order. Would you support a city policy where the city was able to immediately paint over graffiti and charge the building owner? How could we better rid our neighborhoods of graffiti?