Summertime, and it seems the living is easy — for rats — especially around condo buildings in Evanston.

One Evanston alderman says the city needs to update its rat control ordinance to deal with the problem.

Aldeman Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward, said at last week’s City Council meeting that she wants the Administration and Public Works committee to look into the issue.

She says that the city will now inspect properites in single-family neighborhoods and then pay for an exterminator to put out bait to poison rats, but it doesn’t provide that service for condominiums.

“We need to attack the problem in a comprehensive way,” said Wynne, who’s lakefront ward includes many condominium units.

Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, suggested residents could do more to cure the rat problem themselves.

“A little bit of effort — bagging trash and securing it in carts — would do a lot to improve the situation,” Wilson said.

Residents can report rat problems by calling 311 or using SeeClickFix.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Around condo buildings?

    What's the connection between rats and condos?  I walked past a few condos today, and they seem to  keep their garbage covered, in an enclosed area – often behind a locked door.  Sure, rats can always find a way to get in, since rats are sneaky.

    How do we know that single-family houses in the 6th and 7th ward – who put their trash in alleys- are not inviting rats?

    Anyway, the solution is to have more cats in Evanston.  Cats should be allowed to patrol Evanston during the night, to keep the mice and rats away.

    1. Don’t catch the wrong critter

      The rats that are bigger than cats are not rats. They are possum and they are a beneficial animal. Please avoid trapping them..

    2. Why only “single family neighborhoods?”

      As a tax-paying Evanston condo-owner, I would like to know why the city will  inspect properties in "single-family neighborhoods" and then pay for an exterminator to put out bait to poison rats, but it doesn't provide that service for condominiums.  This seems like an unfair way to spend tax dollars and sounds like an ineffective way to address the problem.  WHY do "single family neighborhoods" get this service at the city's expense, and not other residential buildings? Can anyone explain this?

  2. Rats

    I will not say the exact location where the problem is, just that it is one block north of downtown. It is loaded with rats. I have disposed of over thirty rats in nine months,actually lost count after thirty.

    The number one problem is the over-loaded garbage bins, they need to fine these restaurants and food establishments. Make them buy another garbage bin; obviously one or two is not enough.

    Yes, I am the one who waits for Thursday shipment to get more traps at our Davis Street hardware store.

  3. Every neighborhood should have a possum.

    Every neighborhood should have a possum,they stay out of your garbage, and eat mice and grubs that will eat your grass roots in your lawn.

  4. I would prefer a campaign to reduce panhandling

    Has anyone noticed the increased number and aggessive nature of the Panhandlers in downtown Evanston.  There is at least one Panhandler located on every block.  This can't be good for business.

    1. first amendment

      the first amendment protects the right to speech including, "can you spare some change?'

      1. It can be restricted

        Aggressive panhandling is not protected free speech.  Passive panhandling  is considered free speech but local government can put time, place, and manner restictions on passive panhandling.  It is time our  local government  step up and put some restrictions in place.  Evanston's panhandling population needs to be controlled.

        1. Time place and manner and aggressive

          there is a circuit court split on aggressive panhandling so we don't know definitively.

          time place and manner only applies to ":content neutral" speech restrictions (like sound trucks).  if you single out panhandling – whether passive or not, it is not a content neutral regulation and therefore is not open to TPM analysis — it gets strict scrutiny.

          So jurisprudentially, we absolutely do not know.  and the supremes have been avoiding the question for decades.

          check Loper v NY —  

          permissible if alternative avenues are made avaialble for begging.  Can;t remember the 9th circuit case name, but you can google it.  

      2. First Amendment: time, place, manner

        It is true that the right to enquire is guaranteed by Amendment I of the Constitution  ( and through Amendment XIV, this is also binding on state and local governments – unless the right-wing crazies on the Supreme Court decide that they don't like Incorporation of the Bill of Rights, just as they don't like the Commerce Clause).

        However, I don't see why we can't place content-neutral limits on time, place, and manner – which are permitted by the Constitution.

        For example – the guys who camp out in front of the Starbucks, CVS or Whole Foods :   couldn't there be some ordinance against setting up booths, chairs, or tables, or milk cartons   on Sherman Ave or Chicago Ave?   It would apply equally to Girl Scouts selling cookies or panhandlers.


  5. Rats need a solution

    I have seen numerous rats near apartment and condo buildings. I have reported this to 311. Many buildings do not have enough garbage bins and trash is just sitting outside the dumpster. This is an invitation for rats. I have also seen rats downtown Evanston due to trash sitting outside the dumpsters. City of Evanston needs to make this a priority. Why wouldn't you want to bait the rats wherever they are…single family or multi-unit housing? The rats don't discriminate! 

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