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City Heights Residents Using ‘Get It Done’ App To Clean Up Neighborhood

A dirty sidewalk is shown in front of the City Heights Retail Village, Nov. 1...

Photo by Ebone Monet

Above: A dirty sidewalk is shown in front of the City Heights Retail Village, Nov. 15, 2019.

In City Heights, residents are turning to technology for help expediting neighborhood repairs. The city of San Diego’s Get It Done app is giving people a direct line to report issues.

Community advocates are spreading the word about the app and encouraging people to report issues from graffiti to dumping to homeless encampments. One of those advocates is long-time City Heights resident Maria Cortez.

“We were known for the drugs, or gangs, shootings. We were known for unsavory things here," she said. "But we wanted to prove that City Heights can be something. And today we're thriving. I think we're doing a great job. We can do better."

RELATED: ‘Get It Done’ App Great For Potholes — Sidewalks, Not So Much

Reported by Ebone Monet , Video by Roland Lizarondo

So far this year the city has received 21,538 reports from City Heights. That figure is second only to downtown. The most common complaints are vehicle-related issues and illegal dumping. In the past, potholes and graffiti topped the list.

Sabina Villalobos is a community advocate with the City Heights Foundation. She says the app is empowering residents.

“What I hear about the most are homeless encampments which is another thing you can report through homeless encampments illegal dumping and graffiti," Villalobos said.

The community’s alleyways are magnets for this type of activity, she said.

Photo by Ebone Monet

Two discarded mattresses sit next to a recycle bin in a City Heights alley, Nov. 15, 2019.

Since the app launched in 2016, reports in the neighborhood have shot up from 2,619 to 21,538 reports received from May through December of that year.

Cortez says this increase is the result of community efforts and community pride.

“It’s not going to be done overnight, sometimes it is done in two days if you’re lucky but as long as everybody uses that app and we see that it gets done that’s what it’s all about," she said.

Since July, city officials say the app has brought in an average of about 1,000 reports a day.

As for how long it takes for issues to be repaired, the city says it varies. Once a report is submitted, it is routed to the correct department based on the problem selected. City officials say is it’s important to select the correct category and to submit one problem per report.

The city says problems are prioritized based on how large the issue is and whether it's creating a safety hazard. The city says some seemingly simple problems like a burned-out light can sometimes be more involved, such as underground wiring work that requires a third party.

Listen to this story by Ebone Monet.

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