Spring has sprung and the warmer temperatures mean kids are getting back outside to play, but not all games are condoned by police – among them "Nerf Wars."
The popular Nerf gun game is once again becoming a public nuisance, prompting police complaints in Woodbury.
Woodbury PD sent a letter to South Washington County School District saying it's already received 911 calls reporting teens driving recklessly, shooting Nerf guns from vehicles and even teens jumping out of moving vehicle while playing the game.
The letter notes that there have been several vehicle crashes as a result of teens playing the game in past years.
"We have received complaints of trespassing, disorderly conduct, and suspicious behavior in neighborhoods and at businesses," the letter says. "While it's a game, an unsuspecting bystander who catches a glimpse of what looks like a firearm can cause a great deal of alarm. A person being chased down by another looks like an assault.
"Other communities have experienced horrible tragedies related to Nerf Wars as a result of dangerous behavior. Woodbury Police will enforce laws and ordinances to keep our community safe. If your student is playing this year, we ask that you talk with them."
An ongoing problem
Warnings about Nerf Wars have become a common theme in Woodbury and other metro cities.
In April 2017, police sent a letter to the public saying Nerf Wars were causing a "major public safety concern" with numerous complaints received from neighbors, drivers and business owners. In April 2016, police were called to a park in Woodbury around midnight on a complaint of 20-30 cars driving around in circles with students yelling at each other while playing the game. Police arrived and found 10-15 cars full of kids, who were told to leave the closed park.
Communities throughout the metro have dealt with the dangers of the game.
Last May, Waconia School District Superintendent Pat Devine encouraged parents to talk to their children about the seriousness of the game after three students were injured in a crash.
"It's really a dangerous game, so I would have the conversation with your child and see if they happen to be partaking," Devine said. "They can really sell it as a pretty innocent game, but it's about chasing around in vehicles and shooting Nerf at each other, so it's really unsafe."
Last March, Prior Lake High School called on parents to help put an end to Nerf Wars after a rash of reports of students driving recklessly, fighting in school parking lots and making threats on social media.
In December 2015, two high school students from Lakeville who were involved in a game of Nerf Wars died when they were thrown from a vehicle in a one-vehicle crash. A pickup truck they were in was carrying four teens when it rolled on 225th St. near Dodd Blvd. in the south metro city.