Rats! Localize.city Uncovers NYC Rodent Hot Spots

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May 6, 2018

New analysis from Localize.city finds when trash problems pile up and sanitation services fall, rat complaints jump

Bed-Stuy has most rat complaints overall; Prospect Heights has most complaints per person

We recently saw the return of the pizza rat (or its cousin, anyway). The video of a rodent dragging a slice along the subway tracks at the Upper East Side’s Lexington Avenue and 59th Street brought back memories of the now-iconic famous original pizza rat pulling a slice down a staircase the steps of the East Village’s First Avenue L train stop three years ago.

It’s not just discarded pizza that rats enjoy. They like trash of all sorts. Localize.city found a correlation between garbage- and rat-related complaints. Neighborhoods with poor sanitation services —  like overflowing trash cans and missed garbage pickups or street cleaning — were far more likely to have rat problems.

“In fact, in neighborhoods where trash problems were more common, New Yorkers were 2.7 times more likely to complain about rats,” said Localize.city data scientist Idan Richman.

Localize.city, an AI-powered website, monitors billions of data points in real-time to help New Yorkers get the most complete understanding of what life will be like at every address, from rat complaints to current and future construction, transportation and safety.

This report builds upon Localize.city’s machine-learning technology, which identifies addresses in New York City with particularly high rat-related issues. To find out if rats are a problem near you or if the city is targeting anti-rat efforts in your neighborhood, search your address: www.localize.city. Once there, you can sign up to receive updates on a variety of topics tailored to your address.

Rat Complaints Hot Spots

Rat Complaints Are On the Rise

There were nearly 28,500 rat-related complaints to 311 in the past year

The number of complaints over the past 12 months, between May 2017 – April 2018, was nearly the same as the previous year and a 52 percent increase from four years ago.

Brooklynites complained most often about rats with 10,375 rat-related complaints to 311 last year. Manhattan was No. 2, with roughly 6,040 complaints.

Rat sightings jump in the warm weather

Get ready to see more rats. Perhaps not surprisingly, rat-related complaints steadily increase as the temperature rises, and they are highest in July and August.

This summer, which is expected to be hotter than normal, may prove a good test case: Will we see record numbers of complaints as the mercury rises or will the numbers drop as the de Blasio administration’s efforts to curb the problem have expanded?

Rats rest on weekends

Or at least people, who complain about rats, are less actively reporting on weekends. Complaints logged on weekends were about 50 percent lower than on weekdays.

Top Neighborhoods for Rat Complaints: Bed-Stuy, Upper West Side and Prospect Heights

Bedford-Stuyvesant led Brooklyn — and the city — for the most rat-related complaints. It saw more than 1,800 complaints about rats in the past year. Localize.city also found that Bed-Stuy was No. 1 for overall number of complaints about garbage, a condition that often attracts rats.

Complaints often centered around areas with green space and new construction, like around Lefferts Place and Franklin Avenue. The area is not only near a playground (the Crispus Attucks Playground,) it is also surrounded by new construction. At least 10 residential buildings with nearly 230 units are being built in the immediate vicinity, according to a search on Localize.city.

The Upper West Side had the second largest number of complaints citywide, with roughly 1,020 rat-related complaints.

When taking population into account, Prospect Heights had the most rat-related complaints in the city, with 31 complaints per 1,000 residents.

Rat complaints were on the rise in Prospect Heights. There were 552 complaints last year, up 78 percent from the year before and 10 times more than four years ago. At the same time, Prospect Heights saw more rat complaints, the area also saw a spike in garbage-related complaints. Garbage complaints spiked 90 percent from the year before, Localize.city found. Particular rat hubs in the area were around Eastern Parkway, across from Mount Prospect Park, and around Dean Playground, where new buildings for the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park project are rising.

Neighborhoods where rat-related complaints more than, or nearly doubled, in the past 12 months: Morningside Heights, Chelsea, Windsor Terrace and Carroll Gardens.

Top Addresses for Rat Complaints are in Mott Haven, Crown Heights and Fordham

Complaints in Mott Haven, have spiked over the past five years, jumping 438 percent from 107 four years ago to nearly 580 complaints last year. The increase from last year was nearly 40 percent. A few blocks in Mott Haven saw the biggest concentration of complaints.

“The area around East 148th Street and Third Avenue had more than 370 complaints last year,” Richman said. “Residents at one address around here, 335 E. 148th St., complained 318 times for the past year, surpassing any other address for the most complaints in the city.”

The address has been troubled by rats for several years and was featured in a 2015 New York Post article for having the most rat complaints then, too.

The second most complaints were at Crown Heights’ 410 Eastern Parkway, a 6-story rental built in 1928. A 5-story rental with two Mexican restaurants in the ground floor at 2337 Grand Concourse in Fordham came in third.

Health Risks Related to Rodents

Rodents not only trigger asthma but also can be carriers of diseases like typhus or salmonellosis. In the Concourse area of the Bronx, one person died and two others became severely ill in 2017 from contracting leptospirosis, a rare illness transmitted by rats.

The City Is Trying to Root Out the Rat Problem

City officials are focusing on reducing rat activity by up to 70 percent in the Grand Concourse area, Chinatown/East Village/Lower East Side and Bushwick/Bedford-Stuyvesant. The de Blasio administration launched a $32 million anti-rat initiative last summer.  Localize.city mapped these locations, allowing New Yorkers to search their address and see if city resources to curb rats are on the way. The program addresses environmental conditions that allow rats to proliferate, like food sources and available habitats. Targeted neighborhoods are getting solar compactors with “mailbox” openings to restrict access to trash, more frequent pickup and ramped-up anti-rat enforcement.

Is There a Rat Problem Near You?

To find out if neighbors have been complaining about rats in the area, search your address: www.localize.city.  The website also identifies if your building has housing violations related to rodents and information on city efforts to fight rats in your neighborhood. You can sign up for updates on these quality-of-life issues and other topics relevant to what’s happening at your New York City address.


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