South Charlotte neighborhood fighting drugs and prostitution - | WBTV Charlotte

South Charlotte neighborhood fighting drugs and prostitution

(Lee Stikeleather | WBTV) (Lee Stikeleather | WBTV)

The light rail signals progress in parts of our city, but near the tracks close to Woodlawn and Old Pineville Roads progress also brings a level of uneasiness.

George Liapis questions the environment near his Charlotte Prime Steak House. He and more than a dozen business operators have signed off on a petition asking CMPD to find a solution to get prostitutes and the homeless away from their shops and eateries.

"Those people walking up and down here, they scare customers away. They scare everybody away," he said. "Some days it's pretty bad."

Fear near these establishments fuel one emotion, but what the homeless population has left behind has people shaking and scratching their heads.

Nearby workers complain about a tent city in the woods, living room furniture under trees close to one busy intersection, and discarded syringes in the streets which point to drug use.

Sandy Clark has avoided trouble while opening a business in the strip mall.

"It's a threat. You're not safe because you don't what to expect when people aren't of the right minds," Clark said.

Officer Matt Montgomery, the community coordinator for the area, says the battle he and his colleagues' fight is an unrelenting one.

"There are some problems that you can't just arrest yourself out of. It's a revolving door to where this is the lifestyle that they know," Montgomery said.

Back at the Carolina Prime Steak House the owner is used to giving people the boot after hours.

"They stay sometimes sleeping outside the door, and we have to tell them to move," Liapis said.

Police say they are promising more resources for the community, which may include allowing drug counselors to be on-hand for sweeps conducted by law enforcement.

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