Cambridge creates rat liason position to deal with city’s rising rodent problem

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The rat problem in Cambridge is so severe, elected leaders recently approved creating a rat liaison position. One person would work with the public to get them the best resources to deal with their rat problems.

Residents like Britt Chong said they scurry along city streets.

“They are frisky, they are out, they are ready to clown,” Chong said.

Erica Nkwocha recently moved to Cambridge.

>>>MORE: Melrose addresses rat infestation with stricter trash measures

“I know they carry a lot of diseases, so that is the part that gross me out,” she said. Cambridge has an aggressive rodent program that even includes a rodent task force that includes MIT and Harvard. They track rat hot spots; and the city just launched another resource.

Dan Riviello works in the city manager’s office.

“It can be very expensive to bait on your own property, so the city manager just authorized a new program where the city has contracted with a contractor to go on to private property, 4 units or less, and bait and trap outside,” Riviello said. The biggest question is where are all these rats coming from? It’s something the rodent task force tries to get their hands around every day.

“People are working from home and they are having their lunches at home, more food waste that is out there. When residents closed, we believe that may have [driven] rats into the neighborhood,” Riviello said. The city council just approved creating a rat or rodent liaison to handle everything related to rats.

“That’s why we try to have a central location where people can report that issue, sort of a clearing house to make sure the right departments get involved,” Riviello said.

>>>MORE: Melrose addresses influx of rat encounters with fed up neighbors

The big push is keeping trash secure, asking people to put their trash out right before pickup and urging residents to report any sightings.

“They are aggressive, they are not afraid of people. They will come right up to you,” Chong said. Cambridge will also send someone over to your home if you see a problem to help find any potential contributing factors.