The term snooping may sound like an invasion of privacy, but one local program aims at educating adults on how to keep an eye out for potentially harmful items in a child’s bedroom.
The Hidden in Plain Sight program was created by the Bath and Copley Township Police Departments in 2011, led by Marcie Mason.
Its purpose: to show possible signs in a teenager’s bedroom that could hint to risky and even illegal activity including underage drinking, eating disorders and substance abuse.
What may look like your ordinary tube of lipstick, water bottle, or stuffed teddy bear, can actually be a hiding place in a child's bedroom.
“What’s in front of you in your child’s bedroom may not be what it seems,” said Copley Police Detective Paul Webb. “Or better yet, you better know what’s in your child’s bedroom.”
Each item in the bedroom serves a purpose in educating parents on what to look out for, and to identify items that could raise a red flag.
“One mother told us that her only clue that her daughter was using was she was seeing all these black fingerprints on the wall and by the light switch. It was from the burn was sustained when she cooking on the spoon for heroin.”
Depending on how you look at it, the hiding places are getting more sophisticated. Take for instance some dirty underwear:
“One of our popular ones is called the brief safe, it’s a pair of simulated underwear. I always showed package because it’s hide your riches in your britches. In the front, there’s a Velcro pouch.
And that’s why the program continues to talk to parents throughout Northeast Ohio. You may say snooping is an invasion of privacy, but officers say it could help protect your child.
“If you see something that’s questionable, maybe it’s time to have a conversation.”
It’s a conversation that could save life – and one of the main reasons the program was founded; educating not only parents and guardians, but social workers and teachers too.