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National Night Out to be observed here

August 04, 1998|By BRENDAN KIRBY

Hagerstown residents plan to shine their porch lights and take to the streets tonight to fight crime.

The effort is part of National Night Out, an annual program observed by 8,700 communities in the United States, Canada and U.S. military bases around the world, according to the Hagerstown Police Department.

City officials have requested that residents leave their porch lights on from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. as part of a "Lights On Means Lights Out for Crime," program.

In addition, West End Against Trouble, Crime and Harassment, or W.A.T.C.H., will host an event from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the parking lot of Grace United Methodist Church.

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"It's to get people out in the neighborhood and let them be seen as a community," Hagerstown Police Capt. Robert Hart said.

Hart said events likes these give officers a chance to interact with residents and build relationships with neighbors.

"It's a lot of, unity, that's the word I'm looking for," Hart said.

The event at Grace United Methodist Church, at the corner of Winter and Church streets, will include free refreshments and games with prizes.

The Hagerstown Fire Department will conduct a safety talk. A fire truck, a 911 rescue team and the police command center will be on display.

McGruff the crime dog will make a special appearance, police said.

Several events also will be held in the Jonathan Street area on Thursday night, police said.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony at the HotSpot office at 102 W. North Street will kick off the festivities at 6 p.m., police said.

From 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Bethel Gardens, residents will sponsor a neighborhood picnic with food, children's games and street music with dancing.

From 9 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., the Hagerstown Bonniers will lead a balloon/glow light walk throughout the neighborhood. The walk begins at the Bethel Gardens community building.

Since only 100 children will be able to get glow lights, police urge children to visit the Police Mobile Command Vehicle early for coupons. Children who do not get glow lights will receive a balloon, police said.

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