Citizen complaints about pests to the 311 hotline plus online reports went from 22,300 in fiscal year 2012 to 24,586 the next year, city Comptroller Scott Stringer said Sunday.
"Rats are a daily, stomach-turning insult to New Yorkers—whether they're scurrying over people's feet on the sidewalks, invading homes where children sleep or swarming through restaurants," Mr. Stringer said.
Mr. Stringer said an audit conducted by his office found that the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene isn't managing its pest control program effectively. The audit said health inspectors didn't always follow their own protocols, and in 160 cases, no field inspection was conducted.
"Without a vigilant and timely response by the city to citizen complaints, this problem will come back to bite us again and again," he said.
The health department issued a statement saying the agency "strongly disagrees" with the audit and is taking a proactive response to exterminating pests in the city.
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