New app ‘NYC Map The Homeless’ developed to help track the homeless

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NEW YORK -- A member of this group, known as "Third and 33rd (and Beyond)" on Facebook, who has documented offensive behavior by some members of the homeless population, said inaction from the city gave him a creative idea.

An app called "NYC Map The Homeless" which structures data, takes in photos of homeless, maps their location and hashtags their offense, was created and launched by David Fox, a data engineer programmer.

"I was thinking how we could actually take those photos and them more valuable to everyone.  To the authorities to the homeless people and also to the community," said Fox.

Fox is a member of the Facebook group, which we first introduced you to several months ago. They are made up of residents in the Kips Bay and Murray Hill neighborhoods, who said they are fed up with quality of life issues having a serious impact on their families. They’ve documented homeless men in particular – some believed to be sex offenders from several area men’s shelters – urinating, defecating in public and  even masturbating in front of children.

This group said they’ve complained for months to several city agencies and elected officials.  Now Fox believes this app can force more attention.

"They have a lot of trouble locating them and if they do a lot of times the people are gone and it's too late, so this is in real time structured data what's happening throughout the city," said Fox.

On Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a major plan to treat the city’s mentally ill population – a small portion of that he says is the city’s homeless.  De Blasio acknowledged being aware of this neighborhood’s issues and says the NYPD is working closely to address the problems.

"Commissioner Bratton has said in a free society, there is no law against sitting on a park bench and minding your own business. There is no law against standing outside a grocery store and asking for spare change.  It may not be something we love but it is not per se illegal," said de Blasio.