San Francisco

'Snapcrap' App Developer Hopes to Help Clean Up San Francisco Streets

The new app lets users snap a photo of the area in San Francisco that needs to be cleaned up, and then sends a report to the city's 311 hotline

No, Snapcrap isn't a weird bathroom parody of Snapchat.

The new app released on Tuesday to iOS users is trying to help clean up the dirty streets of San Francisco, according to its developer Sean Miller, a San Francisco engineer who moved from Vermont to South of Market in 2017 and immediately took notice to the feces, needles and trash cluttering walkways.

Miller says he didn't know anyone when he moved to the city to work for Plivo, so he decided to move into a communal living space, The Negev, on the "somewhat notoriously filthy" 6th Street in SoMa.

That's when he got the idea for Snapcrap.

"A lot of people at the house would joke about the situation because it's obviously a bit comical, but we also realized it's a really serious problem and frankly it's a health hazard," Miller told NBC Bay Area.

The new app lets users snap a photo of the area in San Francisco that needs to be cleaned up, and then sends a report to the city's 311 hotline.

While the city has its own app that allows users to request sidewalk cleaning and report other defects like manhole covers, graffiti and tree maintenance, Miller says the SF311 app isn't a good experience. 

"It takes so many clicks to actually submit a ticket. We wanted to build a simple mobile app that would simplify the process and remove as much friction as possible," Miller said.

A spokesperson for the City of San Francisco's Public Works Department, Rachel Gordon, says the city's SF311 app already has all the key features but the city has taken a look at the Snapcrap app after it was brought to department's attention.

Miller said he put the Snapcrap idea on the back burner for over a year, but he's finally had enough and wanted to help.

NBC Bay Area found that the city’s 311 system received a dramatic increase in the number of complaints concerning a lack of cleanliness across the city. Complaints about trash increased 40 percent, human waste complaints swelled 96 percent, and complaints concerning used drug needles spiked 228 percent.

"A couple months ago I was still getting really frustrated seeing this stuff everyday and hearing people complain about it that I just decided to build the damn thing. I figured that if myself and all of my friends and housemates wanted it there must be a bunch of other people that would find value in it as well," Miller continued.

Miller designed the app to open straight to the camera, allowing users to quickly snap a photo of the area and automatically grab their location and autofills the rest of the 311 ticket form.

"I see poop" is one of the random automated comments that Miller designed to fill out the required comment section on the city's form. He said he wanted to make reporting public health issues fun for the community.

"The app is extremely basic right now, but I plan to add a bunch of other features soon. I think a crap map would be pretty funny," Miller said.

Miller says he also plans to put Snapcrap on Google Play store for Android users in the future.

Snapcrap is not affiliated with Snapchat and NBC Bay Area has reached out to Snapchat for comment due to the similarity in the app design. 

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