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Crime prevention events held across area

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Families gathered around the volunteer fire and rescue stands at National Night Out on Tuesday evening at Rutherford Crossing. Target is a sponsor of this annual event meant to raise crime and drug prevention awareness. Candace Sipos/Daily

Target sponsors annual law enforcement gathering

By Candace Sipos -- csipos@nvdaily.com

WINCHESTER -- National Night Out at the Rutherford Crossing Target may not have been as big this year, but it still achieved its goal.

Tuesday evening marked the 28th annual NNO, an event sponsored by Target and the National Association of Town Watch. It's meant to help prevent crime and drugs in communities across the United States.

Targets across the nation looked a little different Tuesday, with parking lots blocked off, activities set up for children and informational booths set up for parents. At the Rutherford Crossing Target, there were even moon bounces, water balloon fights and child safety seat checks. Volunteers from Frederick County fire and rescue stations showed up to teach children about their emergency response team vehicles, K-9 units and the dive team. There was even a fashion show to promote current clothing lines at Target. The booths included Big Brothers Big Sisters, Chick-fil-A and Gander Mountain.

Across the Northern Shenandoah Valley, people were getting to know each other and their law enforcement teams outside. In addition to events in Warren and Shenandoah counties and Berryville, people gathered at the Willow Lawn Community Center, Frederick Douglas Elementary School, Highland Memorial Presbyterian Church, the Old Frederick County Court House and various other locations. Other Target locations also joined in.

Dave Burress, assets protection manager at the Rutherford Crossing Target, coordinated the Frederick County event. He said there wasn't as much time to advertise because the store is under renovation and there wasn't a live band, which was the case for last year's NNO. But despite the obstacles, he still considered the event a success.
"For the little to no advertising that we had this year, it's good to have all these people come out," Burress said. "The biggest thing is just all these people donating their time and coming out. It's definitely them giving back to the community."

All the people helping out with the event were volunteers, Burress added. The only cost to Target was for the inflatable moon bounces.

"It's good to be out in the community," said Olga Wright, administrative assistant with Big Brothers Big Sisters. "You get to explain who you are and what you do."

One of the mothers who came to Wright's booth was Sarah Lehew, who brought her three children to the event. She said she thought NNO was a great idea, especially now when families don't typically have much money to spend on outings. She said her children were very interested in the fire and rescue set-up.

Katie Barley also brought her three children to the event. She went to the same Target's NNO two years ago, but said there were different activities each time. Barley's 13-year-old son was interested in learning about the equipment used by firefighters and policemen.

Frederick County Administrative Services Capt. Aleck Beeman said that the crews want "the public to come out and meet us and see what we have.

"We want to show people what we're out here for and what we can do for them," Beeman said. "That's what it's all about."

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