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West End gets the Night Out with a fun crime fight

August 01, 2000

West End gets the Night Out with a fun crime fight



By TARA REILLY / Staff Writer

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer

West End Night OutIf one night out can keep a few children away from crime, Joe Imes would consider the efforts of all involved a success.

Imes spearheaded the West End Night Out Tuesday across from Grace United Church, on the corner of Winter and Church streets in Hagerstown. The event was held in conjunction with National Night Out.

The community service program encourages people to make a public statement against crime.

Imes, president and founder of West End Against Trouble Crime and Harassment or W.A.T.C.H., said the West End's effort was mostly geared toward keeping children away from criminal behavior.

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"They're the ones we need to reach before they become teenagers," Imes said. "We're trying to teach them street smarts. When they're teenagers, it could already be too late."

The volunteer event included games for children, safety demonstrations and free food. Safety and drug prevention pamphlets were also provided. The Hagerstown Police Mobile Command Unit, Washington County Fire and Rescue Safety House, a fire truck and an ambulance were also on hand.

About 150 people turned out when the program began at 6:30 p.m., and Imes said he expected the crowd to grow to about 300.

Hagerstown City Council members, Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II, police officers and emergency service personnel attended the event.

"It's very effective, because I didn't have it last year, and we had complaints for not holding it," Imes said. "We've never dreamed it would get this big."

This is the fifth year Imes organized the local Night Out.

Children flocked to the game booths, playing tic-tac-toe and fishing games. All ended up with grab bags and other free toys.

"I like it," Michael Ryan, 8, of Hagerstown said. "The games are fun."

Ryan walked away with a whistle and a water gun.

Some adults also said they enjoyed the night out.

"I'm glad they have this every year," Doris Shatzer said. "My grandson ran to the fire truck. It's great for the kids. They enjoy it."

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