Kansas City, Missouri
Keeping Communities Vibrant
The wave of foreclosures that swept the country a decade ago compounded an already difficult situation for city property inspectors in Kansas City, Missouri (KCMO). Looking at code enforcement case data, city analysts discovered that the overall number of open cases had grown while staffing levels had remained the same.
Without additional resources to address this growth, the inspection process slowed down drastically, with some reported violations going without an inspection for months. Initial analyses discovered that 5% of cases were taking more than 186 days for an inspector to respond to a reported violation and log a violation. With the goal of eliminating the backlog of property violations, it was necessary to proactively identify the long-term cases and understand why the lag to close them.
By strategically scheduling follow-up code inspections during its pilot program, Kansas City spent 30% less time on documenting violations and more time helping residents.
We worked with KCMO on analysis to better understand the current state of practice and for opportunities to better triage cases. In studying the net flow of violations per inspection and the amount of time it took to resolve different violations, it was determined that some reinspections were occurring too soon to close a violation. As such, these “inefficient” inspections would create additional work by requiring another follow up visit, and frequently by adding additional violations to the case. We then divided properties into inspection tiers based on whether violations were likely to have been resolved. Using these tiers could allocate city resources more effectively, and help inspectors reduce the backlog of open cases over time.