Using an App to Shame Property Violators Into Repenting

In Philadelphia, resourceful City Councilman Bobby Henon has introduced a free app named CityHall, which has quickly become a weapon of choice for getting landlords and tenants who blight their blocks to clean up their acts, reports Dan Geringer.
October 12, 2012, 1pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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A key tool in Henon's "Bad Neighbor Initiative," an effort to "target bad neighbors and landlords and to bring them into compliance with basic community standards," the CityHall App is also aimed at identifying nuissances such as garffiti and potholes.  

"Henon, who introduced his CityHall App last spring and quickly saw hundreds of Northeast residents download and use it, discovered that when property violations go viral, most offenders cave," writes Geringer. "If they don't, he'll summon them to public hearings and alert Licenses & Inspections - which is never good news for a noncomplying city property owner."

"'Sending a real-time photo and information is revolutionary,' said the city's appreciative L&I commissioner, Carlton Williams. 'Henon is taking it to the neighborhoods, providing people with the tools and the access to be the eyes and ears for reporting nuisance properties.'"

"We have 63 inspectors to enforce all the codes for 550,000 single-family residences plus businesses and apartment buildings," he said. "We need those eyes and ears in the neighborhoods."

 

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Published on Thursday, October 11, 2012 in Philadelphia Daily News
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