Help line: more Angelenos are dialing 311 for city services

Illustration of a home requesting 311 service

Given how often people criticize local government, the city of Los Angeles’ 311 system is surprisingly robust. If you call the number, or utilize the MyLA311 website or app, crews will perform tasks such as haul away bulky items, paint over graffiti or even pick up a dead animal. It happens thousands of times every day and there is no charge (tax dollars cover the work).

Requests ticked up in the second quarter of 2023. The 340,535 calls represented a 12% increase over the first three months of the year, according to publicly available MyLA311 data. Here is a rundown of what people are asking for, and what communities need the most services.

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Overall calls

When the pandemic began, MyLA311 requests soared. There were 409,000 calls in the third quarter of 2020, and numbers remained elevated for a year after that.

The number of requests in the second quarter of this year is in line with the same period a year ago. 

Line chart of overall MyLA311 calls in Los Angeles

A handful of communities tend to see the most activity. In the first six months of 2023, Boyle Heights produced 23,083 MyLA311 calls, far more than any other neighborhood. It is followed by Westlake (19,781), North Hollywood (17,813) and Downtown (16,490).

Graffiti removal

Why is there so much MyLA311 activity in Boyle Heights? Blame graffiti. From Jan. 1–June 30, the Eastside community generated 14,188 tagging clean-ups, again outpacing every other neighborhood in Los Angeles. Next on the list were Downtown (11,188), Westlake (10,617) and Historic South-Central (8,975).

When graffiti happens, the city’s Office of Community Beautification responds, coordinating with crews that paint over the tags. There were 86,397 clean-ups in the second quarter (the figure includes graffiti that workers saw and proactively cleared). Once again, it marks an increase over the first quarter, but is below the pandemic high point.

Line chart of graffiti clean-ups by quarter in Los Angeles

Homeless encampment calls

There is no bigger issue in Los Angeles than homelessness. Since being elected, Mayor Karen Bass has made the crisis her focal point, with her Inside Safe campaign dedicated to moving people experiencing homelessness into housing.

That attention may be what is driving MyLA311 calls about homeless encampments higher. There were 17,486 such requests in the second quarter, the highest count since the city started making this data available in 2016. 

Line chart of homeless encampment complaints to the 311 system in Los Angeles

The number of calls about encampments so far this year was nearly equal in two communities: Hollywood (1,664) and Westlake (1,658). Other neighborhoods with heavy call volume were North Hollywood (1,552) and Koreatown (1,398).

Bulky item pick-up

Angelenos request bulky item pick-up more than any other service. If you bring that old couch or mattress out to the curb, and contact MyLA311, a sanitation crew will take it away, usually on the next trash day.There were 156,072 such requests from April 1–June 30. That’s 9% more than during the first quarter.

Horizontal bar chart of bulky item pick-up calls in Los Angeles

What neighborhood has the most bulky item calls? That’s Van Nuys, with 7,966 in the first half of 2023. Next up are North Hollywood (7,672), San Pedro (7,613) and Sherman Oaks (6,210).

Illegal dumping

This longtime problem involves a person or business creating a bunch of trash, but refusing to pay disposal fees. Sometimes this means a business dropping loads of cardboard in an alley. Or it can be someone driving into a distant community under cover of darkness, tossing construction detritus or even hazardous materials on the side of the road, and then speeding off.

It happens with frustrating regularity—23,337 times in the second quarter, according to MyLA311 data. Still, the situation has been worse: There were nearly 37,000 calls in the third quarter of 2020.

Bar chart of illegal dumping calls by quarter in Los Angeles

This year, no place has been dumped on more than North Hollywood—there were 1,351 calls from Jan. 1–June 30. Next on the list are Van Nuys (1,313), Westlake (1,174) and Pacoima (1,114).

How we did it: We examined publicly available MyLA311 service data from Jan. 1, 2019–June 30, 2023. For neighborhood boundaries, we rely on the borders defined by the Los Angeles Times. Learn more about our data here

Want to know how your neighborhood fares? Or simply just interested in our data? Email us at [email protected].

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