Rats have been a problem for New York City for a long period of time. Currently, rats outnumber the residents of the City as well. To help bring the rat population down and experience a less toxic pest control system, the New York City Health Department launched the Rat Indexing Initiative in the Bronx in 2007. This pilot program was the first of its kind where inspectors were sent block-by-block to look for signs of rats. Using sophisticated mapping technology and computers, inspectors were able to easily document areas that were conducive to rat habitats and infestations. In areas where rats were discovered or suspected, owners were notified from the agency to correct the conditions observed by the inspectors. The property owners then have two weeks to address the issues before further actions are taken.
The Rat Indexing Initiative uses advanced Integrated Pest Management (IPM) principals and this new technology to accomplish their goals. These groundbreaking efforts set a fantastic example for other metropolitan cities around the United States. The new statistics show that the New York City Health Department’s work has not been in vain. There has been a significant reduction in the rat population in the Bronx since the program began, and the Health Department’s Rat Indexing Initiative has become the first in the nation to achieve Green Shield Certification from the IPM Institute of North America, Inc.