New York, May 2: Complaints by New Yorkers over the presence of rats in the city have shot up in recent months, according to latest official figures.
Between January and April, a total of 8,335 complaints about rats were made in to the free 311 hotline number, 18 percent more than during the same period last year and 39 percent more than during the same period in 2014, EFE news reported citing the figures released on Sunday.
By boroughs, Brooklyn heads the list in numbers of complaints, with 2,542, followed by Manhattan with 2,269, The Bronx with 1,917, Queens with 1,291 and Staten Island with 316.
The areas where the most complaints have arisen so far this year include housing projects in the Mott Haven neighbourhood in The Bronx with 173, a building in East Harlem in Manhattan with 127 and yet another building in Brooklyn's Midwood neighbourhood with 106.
Last year, a record number of 29,329 complaints were phoned in to 311, but if this year's trend continues through year-end, experts estimate that 2016 will set a new record, the newspaper said.
A year ago, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio launched a new campaign to exterminate rats and other rodents, an effort in which more than $3 million has been invested to date.
But the New York Health Department recently admitted that it is "almost impossible" to know how many rats are in New York, although a Columbia University study estimated that the Big Apple's rodent population stands at 2 million.