New York City’s top cop Bill Bratton suggested that any city dwellers upset about panhandlers setting up shop in their neighborhoods pay the beggars no mind.
“My best advice to the citizens of New York City — if this is so upsetting to you, don’t give,” Bratton said as Mayor Bill de Blasio nodded his head behind the commissioner. “One of the quickest ways to get rid of them is not to give to them.”
The response came to a question during an unrelated press event by CBS New York on Monday about ahomeless woman in the Upper West Side who in provided photos wasseen settingup camp with beds, pets and litter boxes.
Bratton also spoke of the nuance of the laws officers enforce around homelessness, including blocking or occupying public spaces.
The commissioner previously told Metro New York that the NYPD was in conversations with the city’s Law Department on “reviewing existing laws and interpretations of those laws.“
Neither Bratton nor the Law Department elaborated on what those changes might include.
Meanwhile, de Blasio told reporters on Monday that both NYPD and homeless services respond to complaints about homelessness.
“The bottom line is we see a situation like this, it will be dealt with,” de Blasio said.
As of Nov. 6, the city’s Department of Homeless Services estimated more than 57,400 New Yorkers were living in city shelters.