BERGEN COUNTY - As more coyotes are sighted in Bergen County, residents are becoming increasingly concerned for their safety.

This week coyotes have been sported in four northern New Jersey towns. The sightings have prompted parents and school districts to keep children indoors.

The most recent sighting was Thursday. Norwood police shot and wounded an aggressive coyote, but it was able to get away. On Monday, another coyote in Norwood tested positive for rabies. Officials believe this was the same animal that attacked a man in town on Sunday.

“It makes me a little bit nervous,” says parents Melissa Ritsma. “Not so much that there is wildlife around, but that they are testing positives for rabies.”

Carol Tyler of Tyco Animal Control says the coyote population is flourishing in north Jersey, mainly because people are creating an inviting environment.

“Because there is such an available food source, they are breeding at a much higher rate than in other parts of the state,” she says.  “Where we were seeing two or three pups, we are now seeing six or seven pups in a litter. 

Tyler says residents should keep their property clear of garbage and food to keep the coyotes away. Birdfeeders should also be brought inside.

Injured coyotes should also be avoided, warns Tyler.

“When they’re injured, they don’t have the ability to get away from people,” she says. “People tend to think they need to handle them…and that’s when we wind up with the conflict.”

Norwood will be holding a seminar to educate residents on coyote safety. It will be Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Norwood Public School.