Southfield, at your service

City offers hotlines, online tool to report anything from potholes and blight to traffic issues

By: Brian Louwers | Southfield Sun | Published August 25, 2021

 The city of Southfield offers a variety of tools for residents and business owners to report anything from blight and community appearance issues to speeding, littering and loud music.

The city of Southfield offers a variety of tools for residents and business owners to report anything from blight and community appearance issues to speeding, littering and loud music.

Photo by Brian Louwers

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SOUTHFIELD — Mayor Ken Siver said he gets calls from Southfield residents all the time about everyday neighborhood concerns.

These days, calling City Hall is just one way to report anything from potholes and blight to graffiti, speeders and neighborhood nuisances. Southfield has deployed an array of tools to help track issues reported by residents across the city’s 27 square miles.

“If you see something, say something,” Siver said. “We depend on citizens to report things that are not what I call the ‘Southfield standard.’ In other words, there’s either blight or an appearance issue. Certainly, with the Police Department, it could be some criminal behavior. We depend on folks to help us.”

Siver said all reporting is anonymous to the person or property being reported.

“Sometimes people figure out who it was because they maybe had some incidents with their neighbor before,” he said. “We try to remediate problems, not cause problems. There’s nothing in it for identifying the person who complained.”

The mayor said boots on the ground in the neighborhood, including residents who live there, help make sure problems get identified and corrected.

“Sometimes our code people go through the streets, drive through the neighborhood, but when you’re driving through you don’t always see everything,” Siver said. “When you have neighbors walking in your neighborhood, obviously, they notice things that maybe a code officer wouldn’t notice.”

 

Report issues using a computer, smartphone or tablet
In March 2020, the city partnered with QScend Technologies Inc. to launch the “Southfield Solutions” QAlert platform. Through a free mobile app and web tools, residents and business owners can request city services and report quality-of-life issues from their computer, tablet or smartphone.

According to a release announcing the upgraded platform, it was selected because of its unlimited number of staff-user licenses, GPS-based assignment locating and the ability to incorporate the city’s branding.    

Southfield Solutions is always active, and the system can receive photos, descriptions and location data anytime, which is then sent to city crews tasked with addressing specific issues. The technology also allows the city to track and manage each report, and to share information about its path to resolution with the reporting party. Residents or business owners who create an account can view a history of their submitted requests and can track the status.

According to the city’s press release, the system sends complaints directly to tablets used by staff in the field.

Deputy City Administrator John Michrina said the program would cost the city $9,900. That’s roughly the cost of the city’s previous SeeClickFix system before the cost of additional licenses it would have needed to procure.

Those who previously used SeeClickFix must create a new account to continue submitting requests for service.

“It has been great,” Michrina said of the new system. “QAlert doesn’t automatically make you more effective, but it shows you where your efficiencies are and it shows you where you have room for improvement.”

With city employees now using the QAlert platform, Michrina said they’re even using it to report and track building maintenance issues.

For all its uses, he said, the system is transparent, efficient and effective.

“There’s no dropping through the cracks, or, ‘I thought you said,’” Michrina said. “Either we did or we didn’t.”

The Southfield Solutions mobile app is available as a free Android or iPhone download. Reports can also be filed through the city of Southfield’s website at www.cityofsouthfield.com.

 

Report issues by phone
City of Southfield phone hotlines include “Operation GOT M” for issues related to traffic, loud music and littering. The initiative was rolled out in 2005.

Deputy Chief Thomas Langewicz, of the Southfield Police Department’s Patrol Division, said a “GOT M” complaint is generated when someone calls the hotline.

With a traffic issue, for example, he said the complaint would remain active for three weeks and would be sent to each patrol shift, unless the issue involves a specific target time. An officer is assigned to monitor the issue each day, and the department follows up with the reporting party at the end of the three weeks.

“Most of the time, it’s useful because it puts a presence in the area,” Langewicz said.

While improved traffic safety is the goal after any complaint, he said that in many cases, it’s the residents in the neighborhood who are stopped the most.

Siver said the “Eyes on Southfield” hotline, for anything related to the city’s community appearance standards, is another option for reporting everyday neighborhood concerns.

“That’s a way to report code violations and appearance issues. It could even be a stop sign getting knocked down or a tree limb falling in the road,” Siver said. “Some of the folks who use Eyes are perhaps not that computer savvy.

“We appreciate the people that report stuff so that we’re all interested in keeping our community safe and attractive,” Siver said.

To report a community appearance issue through Eyes on Southfield, call (248) 796-EYES (3937). The hotline is available 24 hours a day, every day.

To report a traffic, loud music or littering complaint through Operation GOT M, call (248) 796-GOTM (4686). You’ll be asked to leave a voicemail message with information including the location, a license plate number and a description of the vehicle and driver. Callers should also leave their name and contact information to receive follow-up information from the investigating officer.

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