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Officials Step Up Patrol at Falls Lake

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RALEIGH — TheThursday attackof 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 hecan 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 thesame 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 themorning or evening. Like Greene, park officials agree the afternoon isthe safest time to visit Falls Lake since there are more people around.

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

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

Officer D.J. Blankenship patrols Lake Johnson in Raleigh. He says thephysical presence of officers should make park visitors feel at ease andhelp 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 acompositephotoof the Falls Lake suspect, and they believe hecould've been in theareafor quite a while. But until the suspect is behind bars, eventhe most frequent visitors to Falls Lake will watch their backs a littlecloser-- even men like Stewart Carr.

Julia Lewis reporting

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