Local News

Officials Step Up Patrol at Falls Lake

Posted May 24, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— TheThursday attack of an Army Corps of Engineers employee has Falls Lake officials on edge. With the holiday weekend upon us, they want to catch the suspect before he can hurt anyone else.

Stewart Carr often takes his children to the park. But since the attack, even he is more aware of his surroundings. Carr says the world isn't the same as when he was growing up. Everyone has to be especially careful.

Because of the rape, Anne Greene won't walk alone in the area in the morning or evening. Like Greene, park officials agree the afternoon is the safest time to visit Falls Lake since there are more people around.

There are also safety in numbers. Lynn Bird walks with friends. She has advice for women who want to exercise in the park-- use the buddy system.

In the last few years, many parks have installed emergency call boxes around park grounds. They also hope that by increasing Patrols, they can cut down on crime.

Officer D.J. Blankenship patrols Lake Johnson in Raleigh. He says the physical presence of officers should make park visitors feel at ease and help cut down on wrongdoing. That won't be the case at all parks, however. There are only 12 officers assigned to 150 parks in Raleigh.

Investigators have a composite photoof the Falls Lake suspect, and they believe hecould've been in the areafor quite a while. But until the suspect is behind bars, even the most frequent visitors to Falls Lake will watch their backs a little closer-- even men like Stewart Carr.

Julia Lewis reporting