Graffiti marred the open space, street signs, and mailboxes in part of the village in late summer. Empty beer cans, liquor bottles, and drug paraphernalia are sometimes found at local tot lots. Although we live in a wonderful community, River Hill is not immune to these types of issues and we need to recognize that it may be youth who live in the community who are engaging in these kinds of inappropriate behaviors. The Association has received reports from residents, which have been confirmed by the Police Department, that unbeknownst to their parents, youth in our village are sneaking out of their homes at night. Even if they are just getting together with friends, this is cause for concern.
What can parents do? Most importantly, parents need to have good communication with their children. All parents should have some type of dialogue with their children about sneaking out of the house and the associated dangers. Parents need to be alert to sudden changes in routine that might be an indicator. If your child wants to sleep in the basement, either alone or with friends, an opportunity may be created for your child and others to come in and out. Kids are also using first and second floor windows to come and go. Unlocked doors and windows and youth coming and going not only puts them at risk, it also creates a safety risk for those remaining inside the home.
Simple steps parents can take:
•Check on your child and their friends during the night to make sure they haven’t snuck out. Many people would be surprised to find them missing and the basement door unlocked.
•Check for ladders that are suddenly in use near or around your house that you or your neighbors haven’t been using. Kids are also using the second floor windows close to porch roofs to enter/exit the property with ease without a ladder.
• Check to make sure that doors and windows, even those small basement windows, aren’t being left unlocked.
• Be aware that kids call or text their siblings to let them back in the house (when the parents are asleep) after they’ve been out all night
• If you have an alarm system, consider installing an alarm key pad in the master bedroom. If the alarm is set to chime, installing the additional pad will allow parents to hear the doors/windows if they are opened. If you are concerned about access through second story windows, have additional contacts installed.
For tips on communicating with your child about these and related issues and to learn about resources available in our community, visit the HC Drug Free website hcdrugfree.org.