By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Like many cities, Philadelphia struggles with ‘bandit signs’ — illegal signs posted on utility poles offering cash for ugly homes or used cars.
Now the Streets Department has an unusual plan to combat the signs: pestering the culprits with robo-calls.
The Streets Department has a robo-call system called Swiftreach to get messages to residents in different neighborhoods about hazardous waste collection or changes in trash pickup.
But Commissioner David Perri told city council they’re also using Swiftreach to pester the heck out of people who post bandit signs…by calling the numbers on the signs:
“When we find these signs, we put them on the robo-dialer, and they get a phone call every 15 minutes until they take the sign down.”
Perri says the effort has had mixed success:
“In about 50-percent of the cases, it results in the person putting the sign up taking them down.”
Council members seemed to like the idea.
In fact, Councilwoman Cindy Bass suggested that the robo dialer also be used to pester absentee landlords who let their properties fall into disrepair.