Calls for Service
The rate of requests for service registered with the Citizens’ Service Bureau per 1,000 residents in the City of St. Louis
There are 30% more requests for service per capita made in majority-black neighborhoods than in majority-white neighborhoods.
A score of 100 represents racial equity, meaning there are no racial disparities in outcomes. The lower the Equity Score, the greater the disparity.
For Calls for Service, a score of 100 — a score reflecting racial equity — would mean residents of majority-black and majority-white neighborhoods are equally likely to submit calls for service using the Citizens’ Service Bureau. It is important to note that for this indicator, equity is not our only goal: we also want to improve outcomes for all.
What does this indicator measure?
Calls for Service measures the rate of requests for service registered with the Citizens’ Service Bureau per 1,000 residents in the City of St. Louis. The Citizens' Service Bureau routes city service requests to the relevant departments required to address the reported issue. In 2016, there were 109,497 service requests registered through the Citizens’ Service Bureau, which represents a rate of 346.5 service requests per 1,000 people.
Calls for Service Analysis
Requests for service with the Citizens' Service Bureau by neighborhood in St. Louis City.
|All neighborhoods||Majority- black neighborhoods||Majority- white neighborhoods||Disparity Ratio||Equity Score|
|Service requests per 1,000 residents||346.5||361.6||276.4||1.308 to 1||70|
Data Source: City of St. Louis, 2016; Neighborhood population calculated from American Community Survey 5-year estimates, 2012-2016.
Data Note: There were 10,929 requests for which we did not have neighborhood information, or 10% of all requests. Analysis done in partnership with Andrew Arkills of Team TIF. While it is likely that residents in some neighborhoods under-report problems, while others over-report, without a resident survey, it is not possible to know for certain.
What does this analysis mean?
There are 30% more requests for service per capita made in majority-black neighborhoods than in majority-white neighborhoods. The highest rate of service requests per capita is in majority-black neighborhoods with 362 per 1,000 people, followed by no-majority neighborhoods with 290 per 1,000 people. Majority-white neighborhoods have the lowest rate of service requests per capita with 276 per 1,000 people. Assuming that all problems are reported, if calls for service were equitable, there would be 10,651 fewer service requests in majority-black neighborhoods.
Why does Calls for Service matter?
In the City of St. Louis, most departments do not have sufficient resources to identify and monitor problems so they rely on residents to report them. Calls for service demonstrate that residents are experiencing problems in their neighborhoods that impact their quality of life. More calls for service may indicate that more people are impacted by neighborhood problems, that they are having to report reccurring problems, or that the original problem is inadequately or incompletely addressed. On the other hand, fewer calls for service does not necessarily mean that there are fewer problems. Residents may not want to report problems, they may not know that they can report problems, or they may choose not to if they received poor service in the past.
Which Calls to Action from the Ferguson Commission report are linked with this indicator?
While there are no direct calls to action related to municipal requests for service, the Commission report calls for local governments to support citizen-led efforts to:
Questions for further investigation
- Why is there racial disparity in Calls for Service?
- What can St. Louis do to reduce racial disparities in Calls for Service?
- What initiatives are currently underway to reduce racial disparities in Calls for Service?
How can I learn more about this issue?
St. Louis citizen-activist Andrew Arkills has mapped the frequency and response time to Citizens’ Service Bureau requests at the neighborhood and ward levels for 2011-2018.