Earlier today, The Huffington Post, one of the nation’s most popular news sites, drew attention to some of the ongoing research of Matthew Kachura and the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance–the Post covered BNIA’s study cataloguing the increased presence of rats in Baltimore City since the foreclosure crisis began. From the article:
The rise in rats is an example of the declining quality of life in some sections of the city as foreclosures and vacant properties have begun to take their toll.
Since 2003, rat incidents in his majority-black city of nearly 621,000 are up more than 300 percent, according to the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance-Jacob France Institute at the University of Baltimore. There were more than 37,000 reports of rats in 2009, data show.
The rate of dirty streets and alleys is up nearly 250 percent since 2003, according to the research institute.
Like urban centers across the country, Baltimore is fighting foreclosures with fewer resources at a time when home prices are still declining and a rise in home seizures remains a constant threat. While home prices shot up during the bubble, boosting neighborhoods that had been slowly making progress, the precipitous decline has wrecked what were up-and-coming sections of the city.
Baltimore rats have long commanded a storied reputation for their pervasiveness, a notion that has been internalized by residents and non-residents alike. Thoughts and comments on this long present nuisance, as well as perceptions about whether the rat rate is, indeed, increasing, are welcome.