If you need to report a crime or you need an ambulance, you call 911. But some cities, including Philadelphia, have another number you can use for situations that might be a little less life and death. Philly’s 311 hotline, for instance, can help you report illegal trash dumping or a stray cat — or if you have a question about city building permits. Basically if it’s a non-emergency, you can pick up your phone and dial 311.
And soon you won’t even have to dial. Because Philly is working on a 311 iPhone app that will let you get answers to questions or request city services from your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad. You’ll also be able to track the progress of your requests using the app.
The iPhone app will actually let users do some things that are tough to do over the phone — like submitting pictures of illegal trash dumping sites taken with your iPhone camera.
The new app should be available in May. Other cities also offer similar apps that let you get information about city services from your smartphone.