Rat sightings are down 80 to 90 percent thanks to a “Rat Indexing” program that maps, tracks and attacks rat populations at the source, according to a city Health Department report released Friday.
“Prevention is the best tool to control and reduce the rat population,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett in a statement.
“We look forward to continuing our collaboration with communities and residents to decrease the number of rat sightings in our neighborhoods.”
The Rat Index program maps areas with high rat failures — large numbers of rat sightings — in Manhattan and The Bronx to determine where to place bait near parks, subways and sewers, according to the report.
The Health Department also hosts a Rat Academy where city residents can learn how to keep the pests at bay.
Manhattan saw a 30 percent drop in rat failures between 2010 and 2014, and every district in The Bronx tracked in the report saw decreased failure rates within the same period of time, according to the report.
Concourse in The Bronx and the Lower East Side in Manhattan saw the largest drop in rat failure rates, according to the report. Concourse saw a 1.6 percent drop and the Lower East Side saw a 4.8 percent drop.
The city started focusing on rat reservoirs, or areas with extremely high rat failure rates, in 2015 and invested $2.9 million to increase the number of program exterminators and public sanitarians to 50.
Lower Manhattan Councilwoman Margaret Chin expressed a measured optimism.
"We cannot be complacent in our efforts to protect public health,” said Chin in a statement. "Even though our City’s rodent problem has been around for centuries, and is likely to continue for centuries more."