Bensalem, Pa. (WTXF) - Parents in Bensalem are about to get a crash course in figuring out how to catch their kids' dangerous behavior. Officials have set up a scavenger hunt of sorts to help moms and dads find the hidden clues that their kids are in trouble.
The mock-up of a teenager's bedroom set up inside Bensalem police headquarters smells pretty good—thanks to the can of air freshener on the nightstand— but take a closer look.
"It's a false bottom,” Director of Public Safety Fred Harran said, holding the can for reporters during a Tuesday tour. “You could get all this stuff and they're all over this room. Things could be hidden in these false bottom cans."
The fake air freshener is one of a 100 contraband items stashed away—some in plain sight—that could signal drug or alcohol use, violence, suicidal thoughts or unhealthy sexual activity by your child.
Bensalem police, township and school district officials cut the ribbon on this new, hands-on exhibit for local parents Tuesday.
The ceremony itself was a bit of a fail—the oversized novelty scissors failed to cut the ribbon. However, Harran says parents must succeed as the first line of defense against improper or illegal behavior by their kids.
"We always hear that someone should have seen the signs. Someone should have seen this or that.," he said. "We're hoping that the parents who are the first line here. We're giving them some ideas and some clues as to what to look for in their child's room."
Some of the items are pretty obvious, like the bong hidden behind the jacket on the door hook or the joint hidden behind the ball cap on the dresser. Others are not so obvious The bloody tip of the open paper clip could signal self-harm and a handgun tucked beneath the nightstand would never be found without removing the lower drawer entirely.
According to Harran, the bottom line is that what you don’t know about your child’s behavior could cost a life.
"Searching your child's room is not called being a snoop,” Harran said. “It's called being a good parent."
The bedroom will be set up at police headquarters, 2400 Byberry Rd. in Bensalem for the next couple of months.
Go to BenselamPolice.org to find the hours parents to tour the room.