Homelessness is nothing new to New York City. The sad plight of people living on the streets is one many of us have witnessed firsthand. But sometimes it's the behaviors we witness that are the most disturbing.
You may recognize the homeless man I spoke to. He was on the cover of the New York Post this weekend for urinating in public. He was released the next day, but also threatened a Post photographer with a broken bottle.
At a news conference Monday, we asked Mayor Bill de Blasio about quality of life concerns regarding the homeless.
"I take this very seriously," De Blasio said. "And we're going to engage folks who are homeless and need mental health help in a much more aggressive fashion."
He said mental health is the core issue here, but does believe in quality-of-life policing to a point.
"There are still laws that dictate that if someone has the right to be on the street there are conditions that we can not interfere with them," De Blasio says. "There are other conditions where we can. We're going to look very carefully at that situation to make sure we are taking maximum advantage of our opportunities to act where we can."
While doing this report several people came up to us, telling us to go to this street, that street to see homeless people. It's clear that quality-of-life issues are affecting every part of New York City.
According to a NYPD official, state law dictates that an officer must witness a low-level offense, like urinating in public, in order to issue a summons. A criminal act requires a complainant. Still, some New Yorkers say the mayor needs to do more.
One person commented that homeless issues on the street were much less of a problem when Rudy Giuliani was mayor and suggested that de Blasio give him a call.