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Bratton Denies Report Saying NYPD Is Considering Using Computer System To Track Homeless

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A report says the NYPD has ramped up its approach to dealing with the homeless and may be ready to use the same data-driven tactics it uses against crimes.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, however, said the report is way off base.

The report in the New York Daily News said the NYPD has put a laser-like focus on the homeless issue and is leaning in the direction of perhaps even tracking it the way it does violent crime, using the so-called CompStat system. According to the report, some cops have taken to calling it "Bum-Stat."

But Bratton insisted Monday much of the report is inaccurate, CBS2's Dick Brennan reported.

"We have not CompStated anything having to do with the homeless," Bratton said. "Certainly, shootings, murders and other crime that we track very closely in CompStat have not taken a back seat, as was inferred in that story, to homeless issues. Never will."

The commissioner did acknowledge that he probably has discussed the homeless issue on occasion at CompStat meetings, but said it's a quality-of-life issue.

The department said it is mapping homeless encampments, but not individual homeless people. It is supposed to monitor conditions and give notification when they deteriorate. And precinct commanders will be held accountable and questioned on the homeless issue.

"There has been extraordinary coordination between the NYPD, Department of Homeless Services, Department of Sanitation and local nonprofit agencies that work at the community level to ensure that we are addressing any issues related to homelessness," Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

But critics suggest the policing issue is beside the point.

"All this stuff about the front end with the cops, we can debate that or not, but it's not going to make a real difference," said Mary Brosnahan, president and chief executive officer of the Coalition for the Homeless.

"The only thing that's really going to make a difference is if (Gov.) Andrew Cuomo ponies up some money with Bill De Blasio to build housing with on-site support services. We need 30,000 units of supportive housing. That will get homeless people with mental illness off the streets."

Some 40 percent of homeless people are suffering from mental illness or some kind of substance abuse.

Brosnahan said only housing with support services would stabilize them.

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