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App helps sharpen city response

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POSTED May 19, 2017 1:06 a.m.

Is there graffiti in Manteca that needs removal? There’s an app for that.
Manteca Police Chief Jodie Estarziau is urging residents to download a city app to their iPhone or Android Smartphone to effectively — and instantly — communicate quality of life concerns in Manteca that need addressing.
“You can use it to report graffiti and even snap a photo of it to send,” Estarziau told Manteca Rotarians Thursday during their meeting at Ernie’s Rendezvous Room.
The app is available for downloading by clicking on buttons on the front page of the City of Manteca website at www.ci.manteca.ca.us.
The police chief said it is a quicker way to report issues that need addressing that aren’t major problems or serious crimes. The city has online reporting for cold property crimes and such through online government outreach that can be accessed through the municipal website.
But for problems such as graffiti “that we need to get cleaned up as soon as possible” the app is the way to go according to Estarziau.
“On my way out of town the other day I saw (an abandoned) shopping cart I used the app for,” she said.
The apps have the advantage of not only providing a visual that you can send from your smartphone but they have GPS coordinates that help pin the exact location.
The city is encouraging citizens to use the app to provide additional eyes to report problems ranging from potholes to even street lights that may be not functioning.
With street lights, as an example, if you filled out the government outreach form you would need to specifically describe the location and/or report the pole number. The app with GPS capability pinpoints the location when  you snap a photo.
The aps along with government outreach are designed to help make the city staff that has yet to be restored fully to pre-recession levels as effective as possible.
The police chief also notes they help hold the city accountable as it provides an electronic tracking on issues that stays in front of the appropriate personnel until they are resolved.
Just as online police reporting regarding things such as theft saves both the victim and police time, the same is true with the app. It also eliminates the problem of making sure the right person gets the information needed to correct the problem as well as greatly reduces any possible confusion.
While the city response won’t be spontaneous it will cut down on the time needed to address issues.
The app is just one in a number of ways the police chief hopes to step up engagement between police and the community they serve employing social media and face-to-face gatherings.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com

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