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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Neighbors say an overgrown brush area between their homes on Eastway Drive and a nearby grocery store on The Plaza is a hiding spot for criminals and trespassers, plus rats, which run across their yards due to the garbage.

Sitting on their back porch, William and Laura Hill wonder who or what they'll see next coming out of the brush next to their backyard.

Granddaughter Kim Barnes, speaking for them, says it's been plenty, including rats while their granddaughter plays on the grass.

"They come from here and run across over to those bushes. Wait a little bit and you will see them run back," Barnes said while pointing out their path on the ground.

"It's hard to let her play when there are rats running back and forth."

Barnes says police arrested at least one suspected criminal in the overgrowth.

"They did find him hiding here," she said.

She says they see people sleeping, eating and drinking there too. We found trash and liquor bottles on the ground.

Barnes says in some instances, people who hang out in the overgrowth area sit on chairs in her grandparents' yard.

"You never know when someone is back here and watching you to see when you leave. It's just a constant concern."

Barnes says city code enforcement came out twice.

One time, Barnes says they were told the rat problem wasn't bad enough to warrant action. The other time, Barnes says they were told the overgrowth poses no violation.

They're not sure who the stretch of land belongs to, but say it's not theirs or their neighbors'.

A grocery store is on the other side, but Barnes says they are always helpful and cutting their grass.

The family called city code enforcement, but one thing they didn't do was call police to express their public safety concerns.

They're now contacting their other neighbors to determine property lines and see if everyone will agree to cut that growth down.

City officials say they have been to the area twice in July in response to complaints, but on both visits the inspector did not observe any code violations.

The city is going to ask the inspector to contact the complainant to ensure they are investigating the correct location.

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