As the city and police prepare to tackle homelessness, two recent violent attacks highlight the urgency to go after the issue as soon as possible.
There have been two attacks by homeless people in recent days. One of them involved a 72 year-old architect waiting at a corner, stabbed in the neck with a pair of scissors by a homeless woman.
The other attack was on a tourist leaving his Grand Central hotel. He was clubbed in the face by a homeless man.
From City Hall to Police Plaza, a real and effective solution to violent homelessness is being sought.
Over the next 12 months, the NYPD will put one third of its officers through intensive training to better handle the homeless problem. But city officials say they are handcuffed when it comes to handling this non-criminal crisis.
Police Commissioner Bratton says we can't arrest our way out of this problem.
The revolving door of arrest has led the police commissioner to coin the term: ‘service resistant.’’ Those current policies fail to improve conditions for the homeless. Pointing out that nothing on homelessness appears on Google before the 70's. That's when the city emptied out it’s alcohol and drug centers... Along with mental health facilities.
“All this led to unintended consequences.. Now we are paying the price 40 years later.” Bratton said.
As large as the problem has grown, and given 4 decades to do so, city officials are optimistic policy changes to be announced soon and policing training will improve what we experience on the streets, in a meaningful way.