NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)– Warmer weather brings out more people to Times Square and that includes more homeless people on the streets as well.
At the corner of 47th Street and 8th Avenue Sunday morning at 8:30 a.m., police say a 26-year-old homeless man named Zaki Smith stabbed a Times Square Alliance maintenance worker in the neck with a pair of scissors.
Smith was arrested in the violent robbery attempt, CBS2’s Brian Conybeare reported.
But the NYPD is still searching for another homeless man in a bloody murder at the Bellevue shelter in Kips Bay on Friday. William Smith, 53, may have cut his roommate’s throat then allegedly sliced a cab driver in queens the next day.
These latest high profile crimes comes the same week the city announced its new consolidation of homeless services and $66 millions in improved programs after a 90-day review spurred by violence in the shelter system.
Former Deputy Commissioner for Homeless Services Robert Mascali recommended some of those changes on CBS2 months ago. He says too many homeless people are mentally ill and drug addicted, a volatile combination that can lead to terrible crimes.
“Of course they’re desperate for money, they need their drugs and these things happen we have to get them into rehab,” he said.
Dana Fuchs is a ticket vendor in Times Square who deals with the homeless everyday.
“There’s a lot of mentally ill here and they basically need help,” she said. “I wouldn’t say people need to be afraid, it’s like terrorism you need to be aware of your surroundings.”