CHICAGO (WLS) -- The City of Chicago is ramping up its efforts to fight rats in the city. The Department of Streets and Sanitation has added seven new rat control crews that will service more neighborhoods on a daily basis and improve response time for 311 calls.
"With the increase in crews, we're able to do at least four to six, instead of one or two a week. And that is a lot door-to-door contact with the residents which we find is very important," said Josie Cruz, deputy commissioner of rodent control. "We can address more 311 calls and do a lot of preventative baiting."
After the last mayoral administration approved ten new crews, the department cited a positive impact: an 18 percent drop in rodent complaints over the past two years.
Cruz said that a lot of the work at the Bureau of Rodent Control is focused on education, ensuring residents know how to prevent rat infestations.
"If you contain the garbage, if you make sure that you pick up after your dog, if you make sure that you maintain your bird feeders, you harvest your gardens - the rats will not be attracted to go in there because there's no food source," Cruz said. "Cut off that food source and you'll eliminate the rats."
The new goal is to proactively address rodent issues and respond to citizen complaints within five days or less.
For more information on rodent abatement in Chicago, visit www.chicago.gov/dss.