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What's the 311?

By Chris Landers | Posted 5/6/2009

Rats in the high grass, dumpsters overflowing . . . we city residents found a lot of reasons over the past year to call 311 about our neighbors' trash (more than 33,000 calls placed since May 2007). Some of these calls are understandable (nobody wants to live in a pile of their neighbors' dog shit) but others border on nitpicking (come on, no lid on the trash can? For this you alert the authorities?). With addresses redacted to protect the innocent, here are some of the calls that stood out:

March 10, 2008, Mondawmin. "The resident has a chicken coop and are raising chickens in the rear yard--Alley."

Jan. 5, 2009, Hampden. "The neighbor to this location says that the residents at this location are throwing soiled panties into his rear yard from the top window of the house--Alley."

March 25, 2009, Westfield. "Walks his dog and puts dog feces in plastic bag and throws down storm drain left corner and in the front of [a house on] Glen Oak--Sidewalk."

March 31, 2009, Belair-Parkside. "Has chain saw blades sticking out of garage--Alley."

Disclaimer: What's the 311? is based on data from the Mayor's Office of Information Technology. It has been folded, spindled, and mutilated along the way, and no attempt has been made to verify the accuracy of the calls. Also, if you're going to pick up the dog shit in a plastic bag, you've really already done the gross part, right?

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