Number of service requests to NYC’s 311 from 2004 to 2017: 26.99 million

If you pick up the phone today and file a complaint about noise, what is the probability that that noise is not found by the city agency that has oversight?  p = 0.45 from 2010 to 2017. That is, there is a 45% chance that the noise you’re complaining about will not be found/heard by a city official who can do something about it. The reason this blog exists is because of all-night construction noise from Brookfield a few years ago that I would complain about to 311, and a lot of them were closed out with “conditions not observed” or similar. There could be a simple explanation  – the noise and/or the noise-maker moved on. And there could be other simple explanations. That sometimes are also less palatable.

Notice the post title now refers to 2010 as the starting point. From 2004 to 2009, what action city agencies took to resolve a complaint to 311 is not recorded in the datasets available at NYC Open Data. They are available from 2010 onwards. Below is a table of 5 close-out comments I include in the “not found” category.  And below the “not founds” is a table with all 82 close-out comments and how frequently they occur.  Breakdown by agency follows in the next few days – NYPD and DEP are the main noise-complaint handling agencies. But anyone who can eyeball numbers can infer what the breakdown is going to look like.

Noise complaints to NYC’s 311, 2010 to 2017: cases of noise not found
Resolution N
The Police Department responded to the complaint and with the information available observed no evidence of the violation at that time. 830,797
The Department of Environmental Protection did not observe a violation of the New York City Air/Noise Code at the time of inspection and could not issue a notice of violation. If the problem still exists, please call 311 and file a new complaint. If you are outside of New York City, please call (212) NEW-YORK (212-639-9675). 205,715
The Police Department responded and upon arrival those responsible for the condition were gone. 92,588
The Department of Sanitation investigated this complaint and found no condition at the location. 281
The Department of Environment Protection inspected your complaint but could not find the problem you reported. If the condition persists, please call 311 (or 212-639-9675 if calling from a non-New York City area code) with more detailed information to submit a new complaint. 9

I could have trimmed the following table to a number like 30 which would have cut off count less than 1000 but thee are some interesting close-out comments in the single digits. It’s not like I am cutting down any trees so why not. Plus, I like to speculate that the 4 instances when DEP found no problem with the city sewer but a “courtesy flush was performed” – that this somehow involved 725 Fifth (Trump Tower to non-New Yorkers). It seems like a perfect fit….

Noise complaints to NYC’s 311, 2004 to 2017, types of resolutions with counts
Resolution N
The Police Department responded to the complaint and with the information available observed no evidence of the violation at that time. 830,797
The Police Department responded to the complaint and took action to fix the condition. 594,161
The Police Department responded to the complaint and determined that police action was not necessary. 245,983
The Department of Environmental Protection did not observe a violation of the New York City Air/Noise Code at the time of inspection and could not issue a notice of violation. If the problem still exists, please call 311 and file a new complaint. If you are outside of New York City, please call (212) NEW-YORK (212-639-9675). 205,715
141,507
The Police Department responded and upon arrival those responsible for the condition were gone. 92,588
The Police Department responded to the complaint but officers were unable to gain entry into the premises. 76,100
The Department of Environmental Protection determined that this complaint is a duplicate of a previously filed complaint. The original complaint is being addressed. 73,547
The Police Department reviewed your complaint and provided additional information below. 57,412
The Department of Environmental Protection determined that an inspection is not warranted to investigate this complaint at this time and sent a letter to the complainant and/or respondent. 29,093
Your request can not be processed at this time because of insufficient contact information. Please create a new Service Request on NYC.gov and provide more detailed contact information. 28,361
Thank you for your report. The City will use the information you provided for tracking and reporting purposes. 311 will not have any further status information. 15,650
The Police Department responded to the complaint and a report was prepared. 12,491
This complaint does not fall under the Police Department’s jurisdiction. 8,771
The Department of Environmental Protection observed a violation of the New York City Air/Noise Code at the time of inspection and issued a notice of violation. 8,513
The Police Department issued a summons in response to the complaint. 8,179
The Department of Environmental Protection closed or canceled this complaint at the complainant’s request. 7,984
The Department of Environmental Protection researched this complaint and determined that it could be closed. 7,740
The Department of Environmental Protection requires contact with the complainant to investigate this complaint. The complaint was closed because attempts made to contact the complainant by phone and/or letter received no response. 5,637
The Department of Environmental Protection requires an appointment to inspect this complaint type. Complainant information was not provided and an appointment could not be scheduled. The complaint has been closed. If the problem still exists, please call 311 and file a new complaint including your contact information. 5,148
Your complaint has been forwarded to the New York Police Department for a non-emergency response. 311 will have additional information in 8 hours. Please note your service request number for future reference. 4,731
The Department of Environmental Protection requires contact with the complainant to investigate this complaint. A message was left for the complainant at the phone number provided. 3,318
The Department of Environmental Protection sent a letter to the complainant and/or respondent and the letter was returned as undeliverable. 3,151
The New York City Economic Development Corporation determined that this issue is not within its jurisdiction because the helicopter did not belong to a tour operating company. Instead, it was most likely a law enforcement or news gathering helicopter, which is not subject to the routing protocols established for tour helicopters. 2,601
The New York City Economic Development Corporation determined that this issue is not within its jurisdiction because the helicopter did not belong to a tour operating company. 1,344
The Department of Environmental Protection resolved this complaint by speaking to the complainant on the phone. 1,296
The Police Department made an arrest in response to the complaint. 1,222
The New York City Economic Development Corporation received your complaint. You did not provide enough information for the agency to be able to act on your request. 1,119
The Department of Sanitation has investigated the complaint and addressed the issue. If the problem persists, call 311 to enter a new complaint. If you are outside of New York City, please call (212) NEW-YORK (212-639-9675). 1,030
The Department of Environmental Protection received a letter or phone call from the alleged dog owner in response to a letter or inspection. 1,023
The New York City Economic Development Corporation received your complaint. You did not provide enough information for the agency to be able to act on your request. In the future if you could provide a tail number or a basic description of the helicopter, and whether it was hovering or not, it would help in our review. 996
The Department of Environmental Protection determined that an inspection is not warranted to investigate this complaint at this time. A letter will be sent to the complainant and/or respondent. 986
The Department of Environmental Protection determined that an inspection is warranted to investigate this complaint. 958
The Department of Environmental Protection has inspected your complaint and determined that further investigation is required. More information will be available once the condition is resolved. Please visit nyc.gov/311 or call 311 at a later time to check the status of your complaint. 711
The New York City Economic Development Corporation determined that the helicopter tour operator was operating within the limits of the New York City Helicopter Sightseeing Plan which establishes specific routing for tour flights. 670
Your complaint has been received by the Police Department and additional information will be available later. 634
The Department of Environmental Protection conducted an inspection and determined that “”No Horn Honking”” or “”No Idling”” signs are not warranted. If the problem still exists, please call 311 and file a new complaint. If you are outside of New York City, please call (212) NEW-YORK (212-639-9675). 559
The Department of Environmental Protection conducted an inspection and determined that “”No Horn Honking”” or “”No Idling”” signs are warranted. A request will be sent to the Department of Transportation to have the sign(s) installed. 470
The Department of Environmental Protection attempted to contact the complainant by phone, but the phone number provided was incorrect. If the problem still exists, please call 311 and file a new complaint with the correct phone number. If you are outside of New York City, please call (212) NEW-YORK (212-639-9675). 398
Your complaint will be reviewed by the New York City Economic Development Corporation for tracking and enforcement purposes. Data will be shared with local elected officials, community groups and the Federal Aviation Administration in order to assure compliance by local air tour companies. 375
Your complaint has been submitted to the New York City Economic Development Corporation for further investigation. Status will be available in 10 business days. 310
The Department of Sanitation investigated this complaint and found no condition at the location. 281
The Department of Environmental Protection scheduled an inspection. 274
The New York City Economic Development Corporation determined that the helicopter tour operator was operating within the limits of the New York City Helicopter Sightseeing Plan. 225
The status of this Service Request is currently not available online. Please call 311 for further assistance. If you are outside of New York City, please call (212) NEW-YORK (212-639-9675). 187
The Department of Environmental Protection attempted to inspect this complaint but could not gain access to the location. If the problem still exists, please call 311 and file a new complaint with additional access information. If you are outside of New York City, please call (212) NEW-YORK (212-639-9675). 76
See Notes to Customer. 71
The Department of Sanitation investigated this complaint and found no violation at the location. 49
Your complaint has been received by the Police Department and it has been determined that a long-term investigation may be necessary. Additional information will be available at the conclusion of the investigation. 31
The Department of Sanitation is in the process of investigating this complaint. 27
The Department of Environmental Protection attempted to investigate this complaint but the address was incorrect. If the problem still exists, please call 311 and file a new complaint with the correct address. If you are outside of New York City, please call (212) NEW-YORK (212-639-9675). 24
The New York City Economic Development Corporation determined that the helicopter tour company was not in compliance with the New York City Helicopter Sightseeing Plan. Your complaint has been referred to Saker Aviation for further action. 24
The Department of Environmental Protection determined that this complaint is a duplicate to another service request. 20
The Department of Environmental Protection conducted a preliminary inspection and scheduled another inspection. 17
The Department of Environmental Protection requires contact with the complainant to investigate this complaint. A letter was sent after phone messages received no response. 16
Your complaint has been submitted to the New York City Economic Development Corporation for further investigation. Status will be available in 5 business days. 14
The Department of Environmental Protection sent a letter to the complainant requesting additional information that is required to investigate this complaint. 11
The Department of Environment Protection inspected your complaint but could not find the problem you reported. If the condition persists, please call 311 (or 212-639-9675 if calling from a non-New York City area code) with more detailed information to submit a new complaint. 9
The Department of Environmental Protection determined that this complaint is not under its jurisdiction and referred it to the New York Police Department for further action. 8
The Department of Environmental Protection received a response from the complainant with additional information that was requested to assist in investigation of the complaint (see resolution code A22). 5
The Department of Environmental Protection spoke to the complainant via telephone and was able to resolve the complaint without inspection. 4
The Department of Environmental Protection has investigated this complaint. There was no indication of a city sewer issue and a courtesy flush was performed. 4
The Department of Environmental Protection determined that this complaint is not under its jurisdiction and referred it to another City agency for further action. 3
The Department of Environmental Protection investigated this complaint and shut the running hydrant. 3
The Department of Sanitation removed the items. 2
The Department of Sanitation cleaned the location. 2
The Department of Sanitation investigated this complaint and salted the area. 2
The Department of Environmental Protection conducted an inspection and determined that “No Horn Honking” or “No Idling” signs are not warranted. If the problem still exists, please call 311 and file a new complaint. If you are outside of New York City, please call (212) NEW-YORK (212-639-9675). 2
The Department of Sanitation picked up the items. 1
The Department of Sanitation collected the requested items. 1
The Department of Environmental Protection attempted to inspect this complaint but was denied access to the location. If the problem still exists, please call 311 and file a new complaint with additional access information. If you are outside of New York City, please call (212) NEW-YORK (212-639-9675). 1
The Department of Environmental Protection requires contact with the complainant to investigate this complaint. There was no answer at the phone number provided. 1
The Department of Environmental Protection determined that an inspection is not warranted to investigate this complaint and sent a letter to the complainant and/or respondent. 1
The Department of Environmental Protection requires contact with the complainant to investigate this complaint. A message was left for the complainant at the phone number provided but received no response. 1
The Department of Sanitation plowed the area. 1
The Department of Environmental Protection investigated this complaint and opened fire hydrants to flush water mains in the area. 1
The Department of Sanitation investigated and found this complaint to be out of jurisdiction. The Department of Sanitation reviewed this and found it not to be meeting the criteria for a compliant or service request. 1
Please call 311 for further information. If you are outside of New York City, please call (212) NEW-YORK (212-639-9675). 1
The Department of Environmental Protection conducted an inspection and determined that “No Horn Honking” or “No Idling” signs are warranted. A request will be sent to the Department of Transportation to have the sign(s) installed. 1
The Department of Environmental Protection investigated this complaint. No violation was found or issued. 1
The Department of Environmental Protection investigated this complaint and referred it to the Bureau of Water and Sewer Operations for further action. 1
The Department of Sanitation found an open service request already exists for the same location. 1

311 data from NYC Open Data downloaded at various times. As of Feb 5, 2018, 27 million rows, 52 variables till 2009, 53 variables from 2010. Parsed using R v3.4.3 in RStudio v1.1.423