Graffiti, Feces, Homeless Encampments Are S.F.’s Most Common 311 Complaints

A year's worth of 311 data was analyzed, giving a sneak peek into what annoys San Franciscans the most.

(Photo courtesy Shutterstock)

Ever wonder what issues annoy San Franciscans above all else? Thanks to a new data analysis of 311 complaints, we now know that human feces, homeless tents and graffiti are pretty high on our city’s aggravation radar.

Real estate company Trulia recently analyzed the data, which was collected from San Francisco’s 311 records between Jan. 1, 2016 toDec. 18, 2016. Trulia focused on the top five categories that calls and complaints fell under: grafitti, bulky items, general cleaning, hazardous materials and illegal encampments.


Some of the details are hazy—for example, what constitutes “offensive” graffiti, and who determines if it fits in that category? For loose garbage, we assume that means those raided emptied trash cans with trash strewn everywhere that we encounter from time to time…and not just an individual piece of trash. And for event/parade mess…well that one we can all safely assume is largely a result of Bay to Breakers.

As easy as it can be to skim over these types of reports, they can be signifiers of the types of people who are currently living in San Francisco. While one person could log multiple complaints about an issue, it is notable that 26,074 calls were made in one year regarding the cleanup of homeless encampments.

And if 10,379 calls were placed over mattresses, that could theoretically hint at a bigger problem: from an environmental perspective, that’s an exceptionally large amount of mattresses this city’s residents are getting rid of. Perhaps we can blame Casper and Tuft & Needle for the new wave of easily delivered mattresses for a mass upgrade.

Lastly, 17,935 complaints about human waste and 4,099 calls about needles are evidence enough that organizations like Lava Mae and programs like Pit Stop are enormously needed in this city. Access to bathrooms and safe needle disposal boxes are big issues in San Francisco.

If you’re curious about which neighborhoods the calls came from, Trulia also has that data displayed in interactive heat maps here.

Spoiler alert: SoMa hates homeless encampments, the Tenderloin has a lot of calls for human waste and needles, and Chinatown residents aren’t big fans of graffiti.

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