New app allows users to track the homeless

App creator David Fox

App creator David Fox

By Sabina Mollot

In the streets surrounding the men’s shelter at Bellevue, neighbors in recent months have been snapping photos of homeless men when they spot anything that seems alarming, whether it’s public lewdness or aggressive behavior. The photos often get sent to local police and homeless officials and sometimes on the neighborhood Facebook page 33rd and Third (And Beyond).

Now, those residents should have any easier time chronicling their complaints, thanks to an app created by a Murray Hill data engineer and programmer. The free app allows users to post their photos onto a map, which then lets other users know, through pins, the locations where particular homeless people are camping out in real time. It also offers a variety of hashtags for users to choose from depending on the situation, such as #aggressivebegging or #needsmedicalattention. So far, midtown has been the most heavily tagged area.

The app’s creator, David Fox, said he was inspired to do something based on the uptick in homeless people he’s noticed in Murray Hill and Kips Bay.

“It’s definitely gotten worse since last year and looking at it over a two-year time frame,” he said.

A photo posted recently on the Facebook group “Third and 33rd (And Beyond)” shows a homeless man relieving himself into a building’s planter.

A photo posted recently on the Facebook group “Third and 33rd (And Beyond)” shows a homeless man relieving himself into a building’s planter.

Fox recalled one recent frightening incident when he was at a Murray Hill Subway sandwich shop and a vagrant came in and demanded food. When the person at the cash register wouldn’t give him any, the homeless man started berating and threatening the worker. He eventually left, possibly upon noticing that Fox was calling police, Fox recalled. Then there are the other less serious, but annoying incidents he’s witnessed, such as men peeing in front of his building and going through garbage that made Fox want to find a convenient way to keep track of the activity.

The app, NYC Map the Homeless, was released last week and has since been downloaded between 250 and 300 times, Fox said. He’s also already at work on version 2.0, which will also have a map of recent incidents to make it useful for police, should they choose to make use of it.

As for regular citizens such as himself, Fox advises “safety first” if considering snapping a photo of someone engaging in disturbing or aggressive behavior.

“If you feel uncomfortable, then you absolutely shouldn’t do it,” he said. “You have to do it at your discretion. You have to be careful, and I would say keep your distance.”

One thought on “New app allows users to track the homeless

  1. Because there is an app (33rd and Third and Beyond) where the upper 1% can keep track of the homeless, I am part of a team developing an app with a working name of “Ditch the Rich Bitch” (“DRB”). It is a much larger and more full service and well financed app that will be for everyone, except the corrupt, to track the “abject wealthy”. But instead of only simple site tracking and fascist commentary, we are including ability to enter, who and where they are meeting, (for example), cheating on spouses, how they vote, where they work, recording capabilities so we can record their elitist prejudicial vitriols, etc., schools where they warehouse their children, etc.

    But, here is the kicker: we are working on an ability to track their income and spending habits, including philanthropy to elections, insider trading, UBS and offshore accounts, tracking money used for, legal spending and investing, as well as illegal narcotics, prostitutes, syndicate gang involvement, paying off police and government officials and use of violence against others. But, the real important part is that we are refining the apps ability to track -only- those who live in certain areas of urban areas.

    Further we are compiling and vetting names and contact information so that it cannot be used by number and accounts held by the people the app targets. It also has a function that scans users so it will shut down users using pseudonyms and false contact info. This means that the app cannot be used against those working to elliminate the greedy sleaze who use the 33rd and third app, including wealthy Republicans, oliogarchs, corprocrats, upper level managment, their hand maidens, Robber Barons and their families, and anyone associated with DAR like organizations. For example, I am decended from the latter. The app simply will not work if I try to use it. But, my best friend who is a vet, once homeless, and now owns small successful small business, will be able to use it…and intendes to!

    Prosperity must not isolate people from poverty. When wealth is achieved, it must be shared. But, when wealth causes self isolation, prosperity degrades into corruption. Corruption is unsustainable to society and ultimately leads to the demise of those who participate in it. At DRB, we’re just truing to help this process along. Have a nice day! 😉

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