Why Should You Give a Hoot about SeeClickFix?
Since the City of College Station began using SeeClickFix for citizens to report code enforcement and public works issues, hundreds of issues have been successfully resolved. And of the 143 cases reported through the online application in 2011, most were resolved within a week.
However, a successful resolution doesn’t always mean fulfilling the request – at least not immediately.
A few weeks ago, a resident used SeeClickFix to request the removal of a diseased tree in Brison Park. The next day, a Parks and Recreation Department crew discovered that a large limb had fallen off the sick tree, revealing a partially hollow interior. A peek inside revealed that the tree may have been hollow, but it was certainly not empty.
A family of owls had taken up residence and seemed to be doing quite well, thank you.
Displacing the young family from its cozy home wasn’t an attractive option, so the soft-hearted city crew chose to leave the shabby tree – and its feathered occupants – alone for now. When the resident learned why his request would not be resolved, he chuckled and said we’d hear no more “screeching and hooting” about it from him.
How Does it Work?
Residents can access SeeClickFix on their computers or through a mobile app that’s compatible with iPhones, Androids and Blackberrys. More than half of our SeeClickFix reports are related to code enforcement, while the others concern public works or non-emergency police issues. When we get an occasional request about an issue outside the city’s responsibility, we promptly notify the appropriate entity.
For SeeClickFix purposes, College Station has four geographic areas. The code enforcement officer for an assigned area determines if a reported violation has occurred, then charts the proper course of action. We contact various city departments to address non-code enforcement issues, which usually take a little longer to resolve.
The most vivid success stories have involved hazards that could have resulted in injuries or property damage such as handicap-accessible sidewalks that were missing chunks of concrete, missing drainage grates along walking trails, major potholes, missing stop signs, downed utility wires and traffic signal malfunctions. Those items clearly illustrate the value of SeeClickFix and the positive impact it’s had on our community.
When the city implemented the system in February 2011, there were concerns that the anonymity of the system could lead to its abuse. Fortunately, that hasn’t happened and use of the program has steadily increased. Based mostly on the number of reports received, College Station ranks No. 1 in Texas and No. 14 nationally among 155 cities that use SeeClickFix.
We are constantly looking for ways to improve the SeeClickFix system, and here are a couple of things you can do to help:
- When reporting an issue, attach a photo if possible. It can help us resolve the issue much faster.
- Report animal control issues, loud parties and other police-related issues directly to the Police Department.
Have you used the SeeClickFix reporting system? What do you think about it?
Barbara Moore | Neighborhood Services Coordinator
Planning & Development Services