New York City removed 110 trash cans. Now garbage is overflowing and the rats are ‘running wild’ – USA TODAY

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New York, like other metropolitan cities including Philadelphia and Chicago, faces a major rat problem.

According to the New York Times, rat complaints have risen from 12,617 in 2014 to 17,353 last year. That’s a 38% jump citywide — and comes even after Mayor Bill de Blasio allocated $32 million in 2017 to reduce the number of the rodents.

“As a result, we saw a 9% decline in rat complaints across the city last year, the biggest drop in 12 years,” Seth Stein, a spokesperson for the mayor’s office, told USA TODAY.

The mayor’s plan focused on Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood and the Grand Concourse along the Bronx, according to the New York Times.

But now, the trash-loving rodent gang has migrated to the city’s Upper West Side, according to the New York Post. The neighborhood boasts the highest number of rat complaints across the city.

OpenTheBooks.com analyzed the number of calls for rats to 311 and found that, according to the Post, “the rats are running wild in this fancy area.”

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A local publication called West Side Rag agreed that the Upper West Side has an extreme rat problem. “We’re like the Tom Brady of rats. All we do is win,” an article reads.

The New York Post reported that since the New York City Department of Sanitation pulled 110 trash cans out of the neighborhood over the last 12 months, trash has been overflowing.

“In the past year, we removed bins in this district because they did not fit the criteria or were being chronically misused,” Dina Montes, press secretary for the New York City Department of Sanitation, told USA TODAY.

But the removal of the bins might not be having the proper effect.

Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal of Manhattan told the New York Post that her office receives calls about the trash. “I don’t think removing garbage cans does what they think it is supposed to do.”

Stein said the mayor’s office has ordered the Department of Sanitation to stop removing bins immediately: “We will not be removing any of the 800-plus bins the district currently has,” said Montes.

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Though the number of complaints regarding rats coming from the Upper West Side is the highest, it may not reflect the actual population of rats in the area.

“There has been an increase in complaints, but this, in part, is due to high numbers of duplicate complaints in this neighborhood,” Michael Lanza, spokesperson for the New York City Department of Health, told USA TODAY.

The department leaves a 90-day window to address complaints of rats, and any complaints made again within that time are classified as duplicate, Lanza explained.

Melissa Elstein, secretary and co-founder of the West 80s Neighborhood Association, said the problem could be solved if neighborhoods were to institute bins for recycling and for food waste.

The rats come to areas with overflowing trash cans because they are a food source.

Regardless of how the situation is addressed on the Upper West Side, rats are a forever presence in New York City. The Yankees’ minor league baseball team even considered a name change to the “Staten Island Pizza Rats” in 2016. They kept it for a season and now it’s back by popular demand.

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