|Sent on:||Thursday, July 24, 2014 10:24 PM|
SeeClickFix has become, in Smuts’ words, “the universal front end for the city of New Haven, for non-emergency reporting.” Indeed, not only is a link to SeeClickFix featured prominently on the top right corner of the city’s official website, a widget from SeeClickFix showing the daily flow of fresh reports from residents is also posted on the online front pages of the city’s two main newspapers, the Register and the Independent. In New Haven, Smuts says, about ten thousand reports flow through the system each year, half from public SeeClickFix users, and half from city employees taking a report from a member of the public by phone and inputting it directly into the SeeClickFix site from their desk. The city pays SeeClickFix for access to an internal dashboard that helps it to manage the flow.
About 170 cities across America have similar relationships with SeeClickFix, including Albany (NY), Albuquerque, Atlantic City, Chicago, Houston, Minneapolis, Oakland, Raleigh, Washington, DC, and Winston-Salem. The states of Massachusetts and Utah are also customers. Berkowitz says about 350,000 registered users have signed up, and more than 670,000 issues have been reported and resolved across all of those sites. The one-millionth issue report came in this past March, highlighting a pothole on a street in Chicago. More than 1.2 million comments were added by users to service requests in just 2013 alone. The company, which is a privately-held for-profit that makes money by charging cities for its service, is growing steadily.
“This is something that could have only been created by the Internet,” Berkowitz mused. “In essence, we’ve created a community APB [all-points-bulletin] for non-emergencies, that works on everything from lost animals to car break-ins. You can drop a needle in a haystack, and now it’s easier to find it, because the haystack is better organized. This is a fundamental shift in the way we think about neighborhoods.”