According to a new report by Renthop, Prospect Heights has the city’s highest number of complaints about rat sightings. 

Analyzing 311 complaints from 2017 and 2018, the neighborhood had an average of 529.7 yearly rat complaints per square mile. With more than than 6,500 reports, Brooklyn filed more complaints than any other borough. 

And what may have started with one building, has morphed into a full-fleshed rodent invasion of an entire Prospect Heights block, reports amNY. 

“Over the course of the day, we’d see like 15-20 rodents in just one part of the block,” said local resident Carol Morrison about the corner of Lincoln Place and Washington Avenue.

The life-long Brooklynite has lived in Prospect Heights for over two decades. In May, she and her neighbors launched a task force to tackle the infestation on Lincoln Place, but they learned quickly that the problem was larger than she anticipated.

“We recognized that it was not just this building, but so many buildings up and down Lincoln Place and St. John’s and Eastern Parkway,” she said. “It’s really a health crisis and infestation.”

The task force contacted local elected officials to find out how they planned to address the increasingly dire situation. In response, City Council Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo who represents the 35th District including Prospect Heights, held an interagency meeting in August to explore strategies to effectively combat the infestation. 

“Let me be clear; the Department of Health and other city agencies have worked diligently since we’re reached out to notify them of the rodent concerns in Prospect Heights,” Cumbo said in a statement. “However, their actions were not enough to stymie constituents concerns … That’s what the interagency task force will address.”

According to city officials, the Department of Health has conducted 125 initial inspections, 64 compliance inspections and 100 exterminations so far in 2019 on three blocks of concern in Prospect Heights. However, these efforts have not resolved the issue, said Morrison. Her task force is now calling on the city include her ZIP code 11238 in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Rat Reduction Plan. 

Under the plan, which launched in 2017, the city allocated more than $32 million to address the rodent problem in three areas of the city: parts of Bushwick, Bedford Stuyvesant and Crown Heights; Grand Concourse in the Bronx; and Chinatown, the East Village and Lower East Side in Manhattan. The city uses the funds to replace wire wastebaskets with steel cans, frequent trash pickups and stronger enforcement of building violations related to rats.

And the strategy has shown some success: In the target sections of Bushwick, Bedford Stuyvesant and Crown Heights, there has been a rat reduction of 37 percent in parks, 74 percent in schools and 80 percent in NYCHA developments, according to data provided by the mayor’s office.

The city is now considering expanding the targeted zone in Brooklyn, but details as to when and where the expansion my roll out have yet to be determined. 

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Andrea Leonhardt

“Made in Germany,” Andrea Leonhardt is the managing editor for BK Reader. Andrea holds a bachelor’s degree in political science, with minors in American studies and education, and a master’s...

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  1. The city needs to do a better job on rodent prevention. The cost of living in Brooklyn is not going to decrease in the near future so we need to put pressure on elected officials to do something about this. It’s been going on for way too long and I don’t see any improvement. I discuss what I love and what I hate about Brooklyn on a YouTube video and I discuss rodent. https://youtu.be/ExlzQk5tvNc?t=127

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