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Middletown police issue ‘Nerf wars’ warning

Middletown Division of Police is looking to ensure those engaged in a “Nerf war” stay safe while playing the game.

Typically played by high school students this time of year, a “Nerf war” involves using Nerf blasters or other foam-firing toy weapons in wide range of games, from informal shootouts to ambushes and set ups at restaurants, homes and businesses, police said in a public service announcement posted to Facebook this morning.

“Since foam-firing guns are relatively safe and cheap, the games are meant to be safe and fun,” MPD said. “Each team has another team as it’s target and have to shoot them all with Nerf guns to get them out to advance.”

However, police said that each year they get called for a report of suspicious person, vehicle or incident involving a burglary, thief, or something criminal, when in fact it was “merely young people playing the Nerf War game.”

“The problem is, even though most of them playing the game are good people who are just having fun, the average citizen or business owner is leery of people who lurk in their yards, driveways, parking lots or streets,” police said. “We have had people we have encountered complain it’s just a game, so what is the big deal?

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“Well, we have encountered Nerf War participants wearing masks and hiding in parking lots, bushes, etc., to ambush their targets.”

While such activity may be, police must ensure that participants understand this kind of suspicious activity “freaks people out.”

“Nothing like walking out to your car at night and see several people dressed in dark clothing with masks on sitting in a car on your street,” police said. “In this day and age, can you blame people for being suspicious over this?

“We have had kids hide in peoples truck beds waiting for them to come out or had them sneak into peoples garages and do the same. Huge mistakes.”

Middletown Division of Police advises parents to take this into consideration when talking to their children about the game and explain the consequences, as well.

“Ohio has open carry, CCW, etc.,” police said. “The participants need to understand not everyone is playing their game or knows about their game. Make sure your Nerf guns are bright and colorful. Kids have been painting them dark colors or concealing them in backpacks. Again, not everyone is playing this game. Be smart, be respectable and don’t trespass where you are not allowed to be.”

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