Chicago rat complaints dissected

By Jennifer Smith Richards and Rachel Crosby  – Chicago Tribune

The city plans to reassign 10 workers from the Department of Streets and Sanitation to rodent control next year to help get through a backlog of complaints and shrink the time residents wait between complaint and abatement, city spokeswoman Jennifer Martinez said this week. The workers are being freed up because of changes to the garbage pickup grid, which the mayor’s office has touted as more efficient.

“(The mayor’s) absolute goal for us in 2016 is that all of these complaints have to be answered in five days,” Martinez said.

As of last week, there were 26,600 rodent complaints logged with the Chicago 311 call system for the year, according to data kept by the city. That puts the number of calls this year on par with the past four years and signals that rodent abatement remains a significant issue for Chicago, which last year was named America’s “rattiest city” by a national pest control company.

The city’s 20 crews of two workers each respond to calls and look for evidence of rats. If they find burrows, the crews place rodenticide pellets in them and warn residents they’ve done so with nearby signs. But the crews also revisit previously baited spots to check their success and use predictive analytics to pinpoint where the next problem will be.

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