Baltimore is once again moving up in the national rankings. This time, the topic is an encounter we would probably rather not include in a nice night out.

As we probably don’t need to remind you, the city is once again ranked among the most rat-infested in the country. Orkin compiles the annual ranking, which for once is just a list and not a listicle.

Despite new garbage cans designed to keep rats out and data-based tracking tactics, Baltimore is getting closer to the top of the rankings, which this year were topped by Chicago, New York and DC. In 2014, it was number 9. This year, we’re number 6. Based on these results, it’s tempting to think that this means the rat problem is getting worse.

But it’s tough to know for sure. As we often hear this time of year, Orkin’s methodology is somewhat flawed. It may just be that reported encounters are rising. Instead of actual rat population counts, the list is ranked based on the number of rodent treatments Orkin performed over the last year. Given that, it could be even worse than the list portends. Those nests inside of cars and scurrying sidewalk encounters may not event count.

The company issues the list to remind everyone that October is the annual start of rodent season, so exercise appropriate caution accordingly.

Stephen Babcock

Stephen Babcock is the editor of Baltimore and an editor-at-large of Baltimore Fishbowl.