It’s confirmed: the Mission has a lot of trash and graffiti — at least, it has the most people complaining about it. In fact, in 2013 the Mission had more complaints about these issues, among others, than any other neighborhood in the city.

Using 311 call data provided by the city’s open data program, Mission Local tabulated that Missionites call the city about street trash more than any other non-emergency issue. In 2013, there were 12,611 calls related to street cleaning, a total of roughly 44% of the 28,674 complaints coming from the neighborhood, as the graph below displays.

311 Calls in the Mission by Category

Scroll over interactive chart to see how many calls were made in each category.

The 311 records breaks up graffiti data into complaints about private property and complaints about public property, but combined they make up another hefty chunk of the Mission’s complaints: a total of 25.5%.

For a sense of the density of graffiti and trash complaints in the Mission, and how they compare to other issues in the top 10 most called-up issues, check out the interactive map below (blue dots are street cleaning calls, green dots represent graffiti).

Click on map points to get more details about individual calls.

But how does the Mission compare in relationship to the rest of the city? As the chart below reveals, the Mission has more 311 calls than any other neighborhood in San Francisco. It has over 9,000 more calls than the runner-up, Downtown/Civic Center, and made up 12% of the total 311 calls from last year.

In terms of how the Mission compares to the city in percentage of calls about street cleaning, the neighborhood is beating the city by about 10%. Same goes for graffiti — complaints in this category make up just 16% of the city’s complaints, compared to the more substantial number of 25% in the Mission.

311 Calls Citywide by Category

In various categories of complaints, the Mission also has other neighborhoods beat. It has the most calls about street cleaning, graffiti, and even more tree maintenance requests.

Why does the Mission have so many 311 calls in so many different categories? We can’t necessarily say that there’s more trash and graffiti, or even necessarily more people willing to make a call. The Mission is a geographically big, fairly populous area and making up 12% of the 311 calls to the city makes some sense.

However, it’s also an area known for its vocal citizens, it’s street artists (the illegal and legal kind), and  historically isn’t the squeaky cleanest place in town. So, in many ways the numbers displayed above are what a casual observer of Mission streets might observe.

There’s a lot more we can do with this data. For example, we can track how the Mission’s complaints about graffiti and trash have changed over time to see if the city has improved at all in managing trash, graffiti and other concerns. Stay tuned.

Follow Us

Daniel Hirsch is a freelance writer who has been living in the Mission since 2009. When he's not contributing to Mission Local, he's writing plays, working as an extra for HBO, and/or walking to the top of Bernal Hill.

Join the Conversation


Please keep your comments short and civil. We will zap comments that fail to adhere to these short and very easy-to-follow rules.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. The reason there are so many calls is because there are still too many A-holes that dump shit (sic) all over the place. Mission is still first world meets third world sorta place, although first world is gaining the upper hand. Prime example: until a couple of years ago I had some seedy neighbors who were too damn cheap to pay for trash service. What they did? Right before street cleaning day they’d just throw their shit in the gutter for the sweep truck. Classic third world move.

  2. You know why all the calls are for trash? Because DPW will fix trash, either within 4 hours or within 3 days, depending on what it is. With graffiti, the property owner has 45 days before DPW will even think about doing something. The city should change the law; I don’t know any responsible property owners who wait more than a few days before painting it over.

    That said, all of these tags show only the most recent data for the property. So if an address gets written up for graffiti one day, and then trash the next, your tags will show trash but not graffiti. Is that an issue with the data from the city, or with your visualization?

  3. I’d like to see the neighborhood cleaner and what if anything Sup Compost has to say about this report. That corner on 17th needs to be developed. One of the foulest stretches in the area.

  4. The Mission is the garbage dump of SF, especially Mission St between 16th & 30th Streets. People treat it as their personal trash can. The rest of District 9 though is definitely upgrading, improving.

  5. “We can’t necessarily say that there’s more trash and graffiti”. If you have eyeballs, you CAN say there’s more trash and graffiti. Go visit other areas of the city. The Mission is the dirtiest overall. Especially since mid-market is getting cleaned up.

  6. The numbers are inflated because the See click Fix users over report the same issue. For example,instead a reporting two beer cans on the sidewalk, they report it as two incidents to overhype the issue.