By CBS3 Staff

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) –Neighbors in Philadelphia’s Lawncrest section are expressing their fear and frustration, over rats that are running rampant in the community. Residents say they have been seeing a large amount of rats for the past several months, but the city’s health department is now stepping in.

They have been spotted all over the 5300 block of Howland Street, ripping through trash bags and zipping through yards.

“Oh! It was about this big. Tail is long as ever,” Gwen Dorsey said.

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Rats in this Lawncrest neighborhood are running rampant.

“I couldn’t believe it and you were standing over there and I said there goes one across the street,” Joan Reed said.

“It gave me the critters that thing was large, it made me think I’m scared to even go in my basement now,” Dorsey added.

Now it has become a safety concern for small children, “that’s scary because they are not going to know what to do if they’re cornered,” Dorsey said.

The Philadelphia Health Department’s Vector Control placed bait boxes in yards this week to curb the infestation.

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“Very disturbing. I’m here 59 years,” Reed said.

The longtime resident says she noticed the large amount of rodents on her block several months ago.

Before that Reed says a neighbor used to live with rats.

“He had them in the house and he moved out. That house is empty so I’m sure there’s rats in there,” she said.

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Some residents say the rats are a motivation to move, however, for others, that is not an option.

“I’d move tomorrow if I could, I just can’t afford it,” Reed said.

The bait boxes could take several days to be effective according to the health department, if you spot any rats, you are asked to contact the city health department.

CBS3’s Chantee Lans reports.