Oxnard 311 requests are trending way up in 2022 – Tri County Sentry

January 14, 2022

Friday, January 14, 2022

Oxnard– The Community Services, Public Safety, Housing & Development Committee, Tuesday, January 11, received a performance update about the Oxnard 311 service.
OXNARD 311 is free software allowing people to submit different requests, including illegal dumping, graffiti, animal safety issues, and missing street signs.
Information Technology GIS Manager Mike Shaffer presented the item and said his update covers year five, spanning from May 1, 2020, until April 30, 2021.
“The application was launched in May 2016, and in the first 5.5 years, we’ve had 96,804 requests submitted,” he said. “We’ve had 12,028 downloads of the free app, either for the IOS or Android system. Oxnard 311 is a story of continued success. It does all the things you’d hope for from the local government. It gives you streamlined access to services, so you can get on your mobile application or access it through a web browser and instantly submit a request for service instead of spending time on the phone trying to find a person to talk to or email and wait for a response.”
He noted that once you hit submit through the 311 App, the request gets sent instantly to the right person.
“It also increases transparency by allowing the person who submitted the request to see real-time updates on the status of the request,” he said. “It also opens a communications channel with the person the request has been assigned to. There is an in-app chat function where you can actually ask questions and give more details to the person who is working on your request. It also increases accountability by the performance of the staff who are working on these request types. Managers can look at information and see if someone is falling behind and not meeting their goals and potentially allocate some new resources or get new equipment to help these people to continue meeting their goals.”
Shaffer said the best way to track the 311 growth is to look at the app downloads. The IOS and Android requests submitted total about 66 percent of all the requests submitted.
“This is a great way of getting a quick look at how we’re growing and how people are adapting to the app,” he said. “In year one, we had 2,139 downloads. In year two, we saw a small decrease of about 6.7 percent, and we had 1,995 downloads. In years three and four, we started to see an increase of about 7.8 percent from years 2-3, and from years 3-4, we saw an 1.6 percent increase. In year five, we saw another small decrease, about 1.5 percent, with 2,154 downloads. In year six, in the first half, we’ve already seen 1,403 downloads. If that first half trends continue into the second half. we will see a 30 percent increase compared to year five.”
He said city residents sent about 7,900 service requests in year one, which jumped to 15,435 requests in year two, an increase of about 95 percent.
“In year three, you see a 14 percent increase, a six percent increase in year four, and year five saw a big jump of 21 percent with 22,747 requests submitted,” he said. “In the first half of year six, if the first half trends continue, we could be breaking close to 30,000 requests, which would be a 26 percent increase compared to year five. It’s hard to pinpoint why there has been such a big jump in years five and six, but it could be part of the stay-at-home because of the Covid-19 pandemic, where more people are spending time in their neighborhoods going on walks noticing things, and submitting requests.”
He noted that Oxnard reached out to other cities using the same platform to see if they were experiencing the same growth trends.
“Everyone saw that first big jump from year one to year two, and the following year they saw a 13-19 percent increase,” he said. “We’re kind of following that trend. We’ve had some small decreases, and our increases are only between 14 and 20 percent. Lately, we’re breaking that trend by jumping up as much as 26 percent. It’s fair to say we’re following the trends of other cities but also potentially jumping ahead in years five and six.”
The Oxnard 311 system handles 20 different service request types, including illegal dumping, graffiti, abandoned vehicles, overgrown landscape, general questions, potholes, litter, sidewalk repair, trash and recycling services, water waste and leaks, animal safety, street lights that are out, the Assessment District, street signs, homeless encampment, general and signal issues related to traffic, street markings, curb and gutter repair, and tech support.
“Over the past couple of years, the top four have been the same each year,” Shaffer said. “Illegal dumping is always our number one request type, and we’ve had over the first 5.5 years, 35,577 requests submitted. That accounts for 37 percent of all requests. Followed by that, we have graffiti with 21,913 requests or 22.8 percent of all request types. Then we have abandoned vehicles, 10,368 requests, or 10.8 percent. Then we have overgrown landscape coming in at 4.6 percent of all requests.”
He said with illegal dumping, large items are being dropped off at the side of the road or in the alleys.
“That includes couches, refrigerators, cabinets, televisions, and large bulky items which sometimes require specialized equipment to come and it into the back of a truck.
“With illegal dumping, in the first 5.5 years, we’ve processed 35,577 requests,” he said. “The requests per year somewhat follow what you see in the overall request trends. There is a huge jump from year one to two, followed by smaller jumps between years two and three and years three and four. In year five again, there’s that kind of huge jump from 6.556 all the way up to 8,616 requests. In the first half of year six, we’ve already processed over 6,000 requests. If trends continue at the same rate, we’re going to see a huge increase for year six, with a total of close to 12,000 requests.”
He said when the Oxnard 311 system was created, each department with a request type looked at the request and figured out how many days it would take to complete the request.
“A day is a working day; we don’t include weekends,” he said. “For illegal dumping, we thought we thought we could achieve this is three days. In the 5.5 years, the average has been 4.2 days.”
The city has stepped up its service, and it’s completing service requests involving illegal dumping in less than a day, 0.8 days.
Shaffer said there have been 21,913 graffiti removal requests in the first 5.5 years.
“During my lunch break, when I go for a walk, if I see graffiti, I’ll use the 311 App and submit a request,” he said. “A lot of times, by the time I finish my walking loop, and I’m coming back to the office, the request will already be completed, and the graffiti will be removed. It’s incredible service. You can see that it’s each year, it’s growing more and more. It’s almost looking like a staircase: year one, 1,840 requests. Big jump to year two with 2,971, and each year we keep seeing this steady increase all the way to year five with 5,555 requests. If the trends continue from the first half of year six, we could be seen very similar to year five request numbers.”
He said the graffiti team has done a great job overall 5.5 years.
“They’ve always been under their goal of three days, with an average of 1.9 days to complete requests,” he said. “Even when staff was reduced, I believe in years three and four; we still were able to stay under that goal of three days.”
This story will continue on January 21.
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