The City of Boston’s innovative approach to addressing problem properties is four-fold:
Using a date-centric approach, the Problem Properties Task Force is able to quickly assess the situation at a given property in the City. This allows the Task Force to be proactive in addressing problematic residences in advance of them rising to the level of pending designation. The predictive analytics system currently in use by the Task Force is the first of its kind in any major US city. The ability to pull data from:
Boston Police’s 911 eCAD dispatch system,
Inspectional Services’ Hansen (permit) database,
the 24 Hour Hotline’s Constituent Relationship Management system, and
several other municipal data logging applications help shorten assessment times from days/weeks to seconds.
Figure 1. Monitoring Dashboard
Monitoring designated Problem Properties and properties on the Watch List is done on a weekly basis (automatically generated reports sent directly to departmental officials) allowing the Task Force to respond to incidents as they happen
The Task Force’s Monitoring Dashboard goes even further. This application provides an up-to-the-minute visual monitoring tool, which provides the Task Force the ability to monitor current trends in crime and code issues, all with associated back-end data on property use, ownership, and tax-title information, making analysis of properties on the verge of the designation threshold more visible to the appropriate agencies, who can then work with property owners to address issues without the need for designation and/or enforcement penalties. City agencies and departments are now able to analyze trends across a broad spectrum (including 25 month crime trends by neighborhood or police district, and top ten address lists for code violations citywide, two examples of influential decision-making data points).
Figure 2. Monitoring Dashboard 25 Months View
Figure 3. Top 10 Properties Report
Figure 4. Designated Properties - Weekly Report
Figure 5. Designated Properties - Weekly Report (including Past 365 Data)
There are even more tools in development for the Problem Properties taskforce to use when identifying and monitoring problem properties. The most recent feature is a Map Analysis tool which allows agencies like the Boston Police Department to use geographical data in resource allocation and decision-making processes.
Figure 6. Map Visualization