May 2013

Crime & Safety Report: Smartphone App to report crime

Amber Hawkins

City Attorney and Dogpatch resident Dennis Herrera launched a new smartphone app last month that enables users to easily post safety-related news, and track progress towards resolution of community problems. UP2, a free app available for iOS, Android, Windows, and Blackberry phones, invites individuals to post their concerns about neighborhood issues, which then can be monitored to see if action has been taken to resolve them. 

“UP2 is an easy way for San Francisco residents to report and track non-emergency code enforcement issues to the office of the City Attorney,” states the app’s website. “Residents can be proactive by using the app to collaborate with the City Attorney’s office in improving their neighborhoods. These complaints are broken down into categories, including Substandard Housing and Building Code Violations, Fire Hazards, Criminal Activity, Health Code Violations, Land Use Issues, and Public Works Violations. These categories cover anything from reporting illegal dumping to broken health codes within restaurants.” 

The app enables users to post a photograph and mark the GPS location of the image, providing a more transparent identification of a problem than a verbal description over the phone to the City Attorney’s office. The City Attorney’s office then alerts the appropriate municipal departments of the issue. The status of individual posts within UP2 is tracked; anyone viewing the app can see how a complaint has progressed toward resolution. The stages include: opened, acknowledged, closed, and archived. Users can “vote” on complaints to rank their significance and the desire for them to be resolved.

To date the top reported issues in Potrero Hill include illegal dumping, unpermitted businesses, and other nuisances. For example, users have reported an illegal automobile repair facility on Wisconsin Street, illegal dumping on Mariposa Street, a fallen tree on Illinois Street, and requests for speed humps on Kansas Street. “I found UP2Code to be an astonishingly easy to use app that with wider use and popularity could easily aid in positive gentrification of our neighborhood,” said Hill resident R. Hopewell.

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