When we think of Murray Hill we think of a lot of things: Indian food, Long Island, pub crawls, frat boys. But we don't normally think of serious crime problems. Apparently we don't walk on Third Avenue between 32nd and 33rd Street very often! Police have made more than 50 arrests on that strip since January.

While crime in the 17th Precinct, which includes most of Murray Hill, is up only slightly this year according to NYPD stats [PDF] it is still relatively low—and comes in below the four precincts that surround it. Except for that one stip, where even hairdressers are apparently hiring security guards to deal with the riff raff: "They harass customers," Svetlana Vala, 25, told DNAinfo from the Essentials hair salon, which is on the block. "This is why I now have security. Security—for a hair shop."

The police are aware of the issue—much of which seems to relate to the scaffolding that has covered half the block for the last few years and provides vagrants a place to converge. They've been beefing up security, which is reportedly helping. A bit. "It is not at the level and number of bodies out there that it was before," one resident told the site. "But I am not saying it’s over...because it’s definitely not." As another neighbor puts it, it is still "not safe for women at a certain time to be walking down the street."

But is it worth it for the police and neighbors to try and clean up the block? At least one homeless man who frequents the strip thinks it isn't:

Dwight House, 55, said he hangs out near the Murray Hill stretch because of its proximity to a library branch at the corner of East 30th Street and Third Avenue.

"One of the best things you can have as a homeless man is a library card," said House, who moved to New York 10 years ago. "Sometimes I can just go inside the library and thaw out. And it's good libraries let you do that. Because they know what's up."

The Los Angeles native said he does see people being pestered by police on the block but added that he thinks cops would be better off using their resources elsewhere.

"They're out here busting people for open containers and urinating on public property when they should be trying to catch the rapists and dope dealers," House said.

"You're going to arrest me for drinking a beer?" House added. "I don't have any place to go. They'll waste everyone's money holding me there for 72 hours and processing me, and then what? I'm going to be standing right back here."


So maybe the real issue is the city's booming homeless population? Because it really it booming: 46,614 homeless people stayed in city shelters on Monday night.