The recent news that a Manhattan co-op spent $250,000 battling bed bugs made us wonder if buildings in some NYC neighborhoods were statistically more at risk than others.
The answer is yes, according to figures supplied to BrickUnderground by the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development.
As shown in the five-year chart above, which measures 311 complaints through the fiscal year ending June 30th, Brooklyn holds onto the title of bed bug king. It widened its lead for the fifth consecutive year, logging 641 more calls than the year before and 1,489 more than runner-up Manhattan.
In Manhattan, the highest concentration of complaints came from areas north of Central Park, accounting for 1,698 of the 2,553 calls. The Upper West Side logged the next highest numbers (235) followed by Chelsea/Clinton (197).
The housing department statistics broke down 311 complaints by community district and borough, beginning in June 2003 (just before the city’s bed bug epidemic took off).
In Brooklyn, District 4 (a.k.a. Bushwick) was the crawliest with 472 complaints. District 14 (comprised of bits of Flatbush, Ocean Parkway and Midwood) followed with 468 complaints, with District 12 (Borough Park, Ocean Parkway and Kensington) vying for third place with 328 calls. At 235 complaints, District 1 (Greenpoint and Williamsburg) fell around the middle of the curve, while District #6 (including Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens and Park Slope) phoned in a mere 40 distress calls—the fewest in Brooklyn. [Click here for a map of community districts and their neighborhoods.]
The least buggy neighborhoods in Manhattan were Wall Street and Tribeca, which logged just 6 complaints altogether. And at a mere 131 telephonic pleas for help, Staten Island appears to be the least likely borough in which to become infested.
None of this necessarily predicts whether your building will be next, of course. As some unlucky J.P. Morgan emloyees learned last month, it can depend as much on where you work as where you live.
On the sort of bright side, while bed bug complaints continued to soar citywide, the epidemic seems to be growing at a slower pace. Complaints increased by 19.2% (up to 10,985) in the last fiscal year. That's somewhat less alarming than the 33.7% increase logged the year before.
UPDATE 8/5/09: NYC bed bug stats a vast understatement?
Related posts on BrickUnderground:
NYC bed bug stats: A vast understatement?
Bed-bugged storage (part 1): Is your stuff safe?
Bed-bugged storage (Part II): How to protect your stuff
$250,000 bed bugs online; another co-op goes to war
Co-op hair-raiser: $250,000 bed bug bill