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Durango’s quality-of-life reporting tool heavily used in debut year

660 reports filed through SeeClickFix app and online program in 2023
Potholes, abandoned vehicles and illegal campsites were all among reports filed by Durango residents through the city’s SeeClickFix online reporting tool in its first year of use in 2023. (Durango Herald file)

Residents filed 660 reports about illegal campsites, abandoned vehicles, potholes and other quality-of-life issues throughout the city of Durango’s new online reporting tool SeeClickFix.

The program made its debut in 2023.

The online tool allows users to snap a photo of an issue, whether it’s a pothole or illegal campsite, describe it, pin the relevant location on a map and file it with the correct city department.

Durango Code Enforcement Officer Steve Barkley said SeeClickFix is a nifty tool that enables more communication between residents and the city. But one minor qualm he has with it is users can file reports anonymously, which inevitably results in some false reports being filed, as well as legitimate reports being filed with insufficient or incorrect details, making the reports hard to follow up on.

A quick perusal of the city’s most recent reports – publicly available at seeclickfix.com – will reveal complaints about vehicles blocking alleyways, at least six instances of graffiti in the last seven days, as well as snow removal requests.

A news release from the city says of the 660 reports filed last year, the topmost request was for assistance dealing with unsanctioned or illegal camping, with 186 requests filed.

Ninety-five requests in the “Other” category were the second most common reports filed.

Response times to reports averaged around one day, according to the city. The city credited Barkley and code enforcement with the quick turnarounds.

The city of Durango received 660 reports in 2023, the top reports for unsanctioned or illegal camping, through its SeeClickFix online and app-based reporting tool that connects residents to relevant city departments about quality-of-life concerns around the city. (Shane Benjamin/Durango Herald file)

Barkley said that although some reports are hard to follow up on, he likes SeeClickFix a bit more than taking regular phone reports to code enforcement because people tend to provide a bit more detail in their written reports compared to a voice message to the police department.

Assuming the person who filed the report provided contact information, he can always follow up with them for more information.

“It's very interactive that way, it's very user friendly,” he said. “So it really helps in reducing the confusion (of calls).”

Sometimes, the city receives reports about abandoned vehicles or other issues outside of city limits. In those instances, the city will forward reports to the La Plata County Sheriff's Office or the appropriate authority, Barkley said.

It’s also great for keeping residents informed on follow-up responses to reports, he said. When the city responds to a report, it opens a message chain that will keep residents in the loop on what actions, if any, are taken.

Barkley said people filing reports should include as much information as possible, and also double check the information they provide. People should include an email and phone number if they are filing a report so code enforcement or other departments, such as Durango Public Works, can follow up, ensure they understand and are addressing the reported problem.

“If they put their phone number and email address, at least they'll get a response back,” he said.

Deputy Police Chief Brice Current said in an email to The Durango Herald that the Durango Police Department received about 71 reports this January through SeeClickFix.

“The partnership is making an impact. The Durango folks care about the environment and our open spaces! They want to enjoy the land in a respectful way,” he said.

He said any partnerships between Durango police and the public enhance trust between residents and law enforcement and “fosters true problem-solving and innovation, as well as strong communication and social cohesion.”

“Our success in building a safe community depends entirely on partnerships with the public. We increase our numbers tenfold by doing so and intensify our efficiencies,” he said.

Likewise, outgoing Chief of Police Bob Brammer said the program is more efficient for residents trying to report issues, adding it provides a platform for a concern to be “screened then routed to the proper service provider for a better response.”

“The program also provides a pin drop on the map which eliminates bad locations,” he said.

City spokesman Tom Sluis said in the release that “SeeClickFix, along with our expansion of public outreach through the city’s Connect and Engage platform, enables city staff to implement our strategic goal of engaged and collaborative governance.”


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