The integrity of the liberal city of San Francisco, California has gone down the toilet, literately. The homelessness and drug addiction problems have reached the point where residents report not being able to even walk down the streets without constantly watching for human and animal feces, needles, and other garbage.
Sean Miller, 24, moved from Vermont to San Francisco last year and, shortly after, took note of the revolting condition of many streets, prompting him to come up with a technology that could address it.
More importantly, the feces situation plaguing the streets is one of the more problematic issues, thus leading to the recent app’s development. Miller reported that he came up with the idea about a year ago, but the recent increase in waste prompted him to finally produce it.
The app’s formatting is inspired by that of the popular photo sharing app, Snapchat, and is said to be simple to operate.
Users take a picture of the street violation, and the application automatically “grab[s] their location and autofills the rest of the 311 ticket form.”
Per a requirement in filing a 311 complaint, residents must provide a comment.
In simplifying this for users who do not wish to graphically describe the horrors seen in their community, the app autofills with generic messages such as ‘I see poop.’
Depending on the severity of the situation they encounter, users can also opt to input messages such as ‘Human or animal?,’ ‘Please clean up this CRAP ASAP,’ or even ‘Help! I can’t hold my breath much longer.’
The app has reported to be working smoothly so far, yet Miller explained that he is still working on several ‘bugs’ and would like to develop a ‘crap map’ showing where the most problematic areas are.
From January to August alone, citizens reported a staggering 14,597 instances of feces in the streets.
While the feces element is arguably the most disgusting, used needles used for shooting up drugs have also posed an obvious health and safety threat.
In the last four years, “complaints about trash increased 40 percent, human waste complaints swelled 96 percent, and complaints concerning used drug needles spiked 228 percent.”
While the problem appears to be increasing, officials are aware of the epidemic and have made efforts to combat it with little luck.
San Francisco Public Works defended the current 311 app but acknowledged that it will consider Miller’s design if it proves to be more effective.
In August, SF Public Works announced that it would be soon launching a program called the ‘Poop Patrol’ where workers seek to find fecal matter in the streets and clean it up before unsuspecting residents encounter it in more unpleasant ways.
The program was developed by San Francisco Mayor London Breed and SF Public Works director Mohammed Nuru who personally walked the streets to see just how bad the problem is.
Mayor Breed called it a ‘major concern’ and claimed that the ‘poop problem’ is the result of irresponsible dog walkers and homeless people who do not have access to restroom facilities after hours.
The city has made attempts to increase the number of bathrooms, yet, of course, such is costly. Also in August, Breed allocated over $1 million from the city’s budget towards building five additional facilities while “expand[ing] operating hours at five existing locations.”
In the past five years alone, the city’s Street Environment Services department was forced to increase its budget from nearly $40 million to over $65 million.
Thankfully for those residing in San Francisco, the city is at least addressing the problem. However, it is arguably one of its own making considering that liberal policies have permitted the California city to turn into a literal cesspool.
Sure, the city has an obligation to clean up the mess that it has created, but doing so in no way alleviates the severity of the problem.
In fact, it can even be argued that in the city succumbing to such a disgusting level that it now has Poop Patrol services, it is somewhat normalizing the homelessness, drug, and waste situations.
It is further disheartening that the problem has required a new resident to address it upon the city’s efforts proving null so far, and it cannot expect proactive citizens such as a Miller to remain there, offering solutions, when so many cannot even walk outside without stepping in something unpleasant.