NBC12 Investigation: Does "SeeClickFix" Work?

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - See it, click it, fix it! It's the web site to help you report problems in the city. The site launched over a year ago.

Many of you called 12 about "See it, Click it, Fix it." The creators of this web site say our city is their biggest client. Richmond even ranks 4th in the world for responding to complaints — but are the problems really being solved?

See a problem, report it online and the city's supposed to fix it. We tracked three requests for help on the web site, for the city's Museum District.

I waited for the city to respond, then went out to the problem areas myself — a few days later to see what's been done.

Complaint #1: On September 29, in the alley, someone dumped a mattress and other junk. Four days later the city closed the case, but we say — not so fast! We went to that alley on Grace Street and found that mattress, plus a handful of tires.

Complaint #2 comes from Kensington Avenue: Someone reported an old sofa and mattress against the garage and radiator — calling it "unsightly and unhealthy." The city closed the case. Days later we didn't see a mattress, but that tattered sofa and radiator were still sitting there.

And then there's complaint #3:

On Stuart Avenue, the trashcans and recycle bins are never taken in. They are left on the sidewalk — hard to walk around, smelly, unsanitary... blight. The city closed the case, but we say it's still open! Not only were the trash cans and recycle bins full and all over the sidewalk, but they were taking up a parking space on the road.

That's three problems marked as closed on the web site, "See it, Click it, Fix it." They were referred to other city departments and days later the problems are still there.

So, we decided to wait another week and check back, 11 days after the problems were first reported.

Complaint #1 was taken care of... that mattress and those tires were removed. But over at Complaint 2, the sofa and radiator were gone — but now a mattress sits against the fence. And at Complaint 3? Those trash cans were still on the sidewalk and taking up a parking space.

"The tickets that you're referring to all happened post-hurricane," said Garland Williams.

Williams oversee's the program for the city. He says Hurricane Irene became a priority and backed up requests for service on "See it, Click it, Fix it."

"We had to make a conscious decision. The decision was to take care of post-hurricane issues and than get back to the see click fix issues," said Williams.

The city says see-click-fix is working and has actually cut response times for problems in half.

Not too long ago, it took 30 days to respond to a problem:

"Our time line is 10 to 15 days. It's what we're shooting for, 10 to 15 business days," Williams said.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.