08/28/2009 10:15 PM
Citizen uses bike patrol to secure neighborhood from crime
By: Brad Broders
CHARLOTTE – Charlotte resident Brian Lutes recently went from attentive neighbor to a one-man neighborhood patrol. He rides his bike, making sure criminals aren’t working their way into the Stonehaven community off Rama Road.
Lutes was inspired to start patrolling when he saw what he suspected to be a drunk driver parked in front of his house.
“I found a gentleman parked in front of my house with a woman wearing nothing but a bra and panties, and a whiskey between his legs,” Lutes said.
The former Pennsylvania police officer decided to step up and ensure his calm surroundings stay that way.
“This is a very nice neighborhood, and we, are determined to not let the criminal element take root here and ruin what we have,” Lutes said.
In the last two months, he put his feet to the pedals to protect people living close by.
“If you see something going on, you take a proactive approach to it. And you see someone doing something they’re not supposed to, you call the police, and hang around until they get there,” he said.
Lutes said he carries a weapon during his late-night bike patrol. However, he said he’s only there to support police, not take over their job.
“They understand that we are out here just trying to be some extra eyes and ears and alert them,” Lutes said. “We are not trying to displace them in any way, shape or form.”
Neighbors say they like what Lutes is doing, and they’re impressed by his commitment.
“It’s very dependable,” neighbor Jere Colcer said. “It certainly is comforting, almost like a security blanket to have a neighbor like that who cares so much.”
Overall crime in the Providence Division was down by 25 percent in July. The biggest drop was vehicle theft, which is down 50 percent. Robbery dropped 32 percent. Reported rape increased by 12 percent, and assault was up by five percent.
Next week, Lutes will meet with the captain of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Providence Division to update his bike patrol efforts and exchange ideas.