This Week in Data: The 411 on NYC 311 Calls


For those unfamiliar, 311 is a number New Yorkers can call (or text!) to report issues in the city or make service requests. By and large, the number is used for filing complaints, be it a noisy neighbor, a hot water outage, or a blocked driveway. Our NYC 311 dataset covers some 3,000,000 calls from 2010 to present.

So, who’s calling this number?

If we look at the distribution of calls by borough, Brooklyn takes the lead with 846,894, nearly 200,000 more than Queens’ 644,996 calls. Manhattan ranks third with 576,049, followed by Bronx with 517,222 and Staten Island with 138,635. And worth noting, there are 276,204 calls where the borough is unknown.

And what are people calling about?

New York: “The City that Never Sleeps...err that Can’t Sleep Because the Neighbors are too Loud.” Noise is the most common complaint by far, making up 415,731 of the total calls. Nearly half of those are about specific residences—think loud music, parties, banging/pounding, loud talkers, and TVs with the volume on max.


And coming in at number 25: rodents. Where are these mice and rats, you ask? Most calls came from Brooklyn, followed by Manhattan and The Bronx. But the real question: Is this because there are more rats in Brooklyn, or more people living in Brooklyn? Or are Brooklynites just more concerned about rats? 


On a more positive note, of the 29,194 calls placed about Taxis (both driver and vehicle), 1,015 were calls to compliment the driver. Kind of heartwarming, isn’t it?


If we look at complaints of Graffiti by borough, Brooklyn is the winner again with 7,137 calls, followed by The Bronx (5,112), Manhattan (4,897), Queens (4,012) and Staten Island (397).

And then there some pretty obscure calls. My favorites? Unsanitary pigeon conditions—I have so many questions about this—with 921 calls, calorie labeling (or lack thereof) with 25 calls, and trans fat and tanning both with 9 calls. And to the 3 concerned citizens who called about the foam ban enforcement, props to you!

Want to take a look at the data for yourself? Hop on over to Enigma Public.