BHCA Community Corner

See litter? Go to 311

If it’s an emergency and you need help, call 911.

But if it’s lots of litter, overflowing trash cans or illegally dumped household trash on Beacon Hill streets, you can ask for help from the city by calling 311.

311 is an easy-to-remember telephone number that connects you with the City of Boston’s constituent service center representatives who are there to help with requests for non-emergency city services and information.

There are several other ways residents can use 311 as well.  You can download the BOS:311 mobile app or tweet @BOS311.

The more residents who use 311 to report litter and other issues, the cleaner the neighborhood looks. Those who regularly use it say that the city handles most issues quickly and effectively, and then lets them know the work is complete.

And that’s why the Beacon Hill Civic Association Streets and Sidewalks Committee thanks residents who use it and encourages others to call, tweet or use the 311 app when they see something that needs the city’s attention.

Launched by the city in 2009, the BOS:311 App (then called Citizens Connect) empowers residents to help take care of their communities. Residents can submit reports of non-emergency issues and send photos right from their smartphones that are then directed to the city’s work order management system by the constituent service center representatives. According to the city’s website, the app was embraced by the public soon after its launch. It has been improved many times in recent years. In its current version, when a case is closed, users can even learn more about the city team that did the work. In some cases, users can see a photo of the team. In a limited number of cases, they can even see a photo of the completed work, like a filled-in pothole.

The use of the app has steadily increased. In 2010, reports from the app made up 6% of all service requests tracked within the City’s systems. By 2014, the app accounted for roughly 28% of all service requests.

In addition to reporting trash violations, other reasons to request city services through 311 are to report health hazards like dead animals, discarded needles or rodent sightings, damage to streets and parkland, abandoned vehicles and illegal parking, lighting, illegal graffiti, requests for new trees and the removal of old ones, and much more.

“More and more Beacon Hill residents are now turning to 311 to request city services,” said BHCA President Suzanne Besser. “Because the city responds quickly by fixing most problems, we are all enjoying the benefits of living in a cleaner neighborhood. It’s a good partnership between the community and the city.”


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