Residents in the city of Athens have access to Athens City Source, a downloadable safety application that can be used to report nuisances around the city.
Through the application, reports are automatically filtered on a case-by-case basis and are then sent to different departments within the city, including the police department, the city safety department and the parks and outdoor recreation department.
The application can be found in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. The app also features a map of the city with pinpoints that show reports of property damage, weather hazards, infrastructure issues and more throughout the area.
The city’s website features a tutorial guide for new users that demonstrates how to navigate each page and submit reports. Users must create a username and password to register.
Andrew Chiki, the Athens deputy service-safety director, said the application is a useful tool for the community and employees of the city.
“The Athens City Source app is a tool for citizens to report concerns and share information with the City,” Chiki said in an email. “Employees of the city can only be in so many places and may not always discover a problem or issue right away. Residents likely know their neighborhoods better and can identify problems quickly.”
Chiki also noted the application contains numerous useful features for users who are reporting. Those features include the addition of photos and captions and notifications that are sent to users when a problem has been resolved.
Chris Knisely, the Athens City Council president, said the city has not received many complaints or concerns with the application but that Council’s biggest issue is with the advertisement of the application.
“It's been a matter of trying to let people know about it. So, when they call in and they say, ‘there's a dead animal by this’ … I tell them about the app and have them download it,” Knisely said. “As you're out and about, either walking or driving or bicycling around Athens, you can report something that you see is a concern.”
Tom Pyle, Athens chief of police, said with reported vandalism on the application, each case varies depending on who reports damage. The vandalism also depends on the location of each incident and whether it involves personal or private property.
“In order to report vandalism, you have to be the first party of interest,” Pyle said. “So property owners, or a renter, could report vandalism; that's not typically how they report it. They usually call the department and file a report over the phone or they ask for an officer to come and view the vandalism and to report it then.”
Pyle added the majority of City Source application reports are code-related and that it is rare that the department receives criminal reports. When the departments receive those reports, officers typically respond via phone call and investigate accordingly.