NYC Rat Sightings Are the Highest in a Decade

Rat complaints increased by almost 17% from last year.

If you're think you're seeing more rats than before in NYC, your mind might not be playing tricks on you. 

According to recent city data, rat sightings are the highest they've been in a decade. NYC residents have dialed 311 to contact the city's service request line and submitted around 7,400 rat sighting claims in the first four months of the year. Compared to last year during the same period, rat sightings have increased by almost 17%, and by more than 60% compared to the first quarter of 2019.

While it is not confirmed whether the rat population has grown, NYC residents are seeing more of them, possibly because of changes brought about by the pandemic, the Associated Press reports. Outdoor dining sheds, for example, can attract rodents due to leftover food and fallen crumbs. 

Mayor Eric Adams is trying to tackle the issue in different ways, one of them being the installation of padlocked curbside trash bins. The new trash bins would help bags filled with waste stay hidden instead of amassed on the curbside, making it harder for rats to lurk nearby to access the food.

The new project would also help with the overall city experience for residents and tourists alike, and it would make it cleaner. "You're tired of the rodents, you're tired of the smell, you're tired of seeing food, waste and spillage," Adams said during a conference in Times Square.

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Serena Tara is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.