Categories
Saved and Shared Stories

Saved Stories – None: NYC Rat Complaints Scurrying Back Up After Pandemic Decline


NEW YORK CITY — Rats became less of a daily complaint for New Yorkers as they first hunkered down for the coronavirus, 311 data shows.

But the city’s rodents couldn’t squirm out of attention for long — complaints are swarming back to pre-pandemic levels and officials recently warned piling trash could provide a “welcome mat for the rats.”

“Now, this is like rat city because of too much garbage in the street,” said Congressman Adriano Espaillat recently.

Rodent complaints to 311 took a dip in March — the month COVID-19 officially arrived in New York City and the state went into lockdown — according to data.

Operators logged 1,611 total complaints compared to 2,395 in March last year, data shows. Complaints dipped further in April — 1,575 compared to 2,800 the year before.

There weren’t necessarily fewer rats. Inside Edition in May filmed rats swarming over Manhattan streets and garbage cans. And experts told MarketWatch that people likely had bigger worries in the pandemic than rodents.

Sure enough, complaints steadily climbed as New Yorkers emerged out of widespread isolation into welcoming warm weather.

They reached 3,006 in July, roughly the same number as that month last year, according to 311 data.

Rodent complaints include rat sightings, mouse sightings, conditions that attract rodents and signs of rodents.

Here’s a comparison of complaints that were listed simply as “rat sightings” between 2019 and so far in 2020:

  • January 2019 — 1,020
  • February 2019 — 956
  • March 2019 — 1,126
  • April 2019 — 1,510
  • May 2019 — 1,863
  • June 2019 — 1,822
  • July 2019 — 1,824
  • August 2019 — 1,862
  • September 2019 — 1,640
  • October 2019 — 1,405
  • November 2019 — 980
  • December 2019 — 800
  • January 2020 — 1,064
  • February 2020 — 1,020
  • March 2020 — 968
  • April 2020 — 947
  • May 2020 — 1,664
  • June 2020 — 1,658
  • July 2020 — 1,775
  • August 2020 (as of Aug. 18) — 1,035

For a pandemic New York City that has seen scores of residents and businesses leave, the rat resurgence is one part of everyday life that’s returning to normal.

Saved Stories – None