Residents in suburban Franklin Park say rats are causing problems in their backyards and alleys, and the issue only seems to be getting worse.
Rats have caused damage to trash can lids and even a vehicle's engine cover, according to neighbors.
Resident Roger George said in some cases, the rats do not appear to be frightened by people. Things have gotten so bad, the homeowner won't let his son play in the backyard without supervision.
“I don’t want him to get hurt,” George said.
George called it a never-ending saga. He said he and his neighbors have trapped rats, but more just move into the neighborhood.
“They’re not scared of the cats, either," he said. "They’re not scared of anything."
The Franklin Park resident said the issue has been reported to the village, but more needs to be done to help.
Mayor Barrett Pedersen told NBC 5 the village has received complaints of the rats in several residential areas along Belmont Avenue.
“The exterminator goes out there routinely, and we will continue to do what we’re doing,” Pedersen said. “There’s not much we can do without access to private property.”
Rat sightings and complaints also increased in Chicago during the pandemic as the rodents looked for new food sources.
“They’re slowly spreading outside of the city and into the suburbs,” said Mike Zawadzki of Pest Arrest.
Zawadzki said mice often pose a bigger problem than rats in the suburbs, but he said people can help control the rat population by eliminating their access to food sources and harborage areas.
"For mice, their droppings are about grain of rice size," he said. "For rats, they’re a little bit bigger. So if you see random droppings in different areas, then definitely have a professional come out and take a look at it."
According to the village, concerned residents should also consider maintaining a clean backyard, securing trash can lids, removing clutter and eliminating firewood stacks.