Security Tips for Living Alone
Living alone can be fun and even luxurious, but at the same time, it is more dangerous when you consider personal security. Living alone, you'll be more vulnerable to burglaries, and it's essential that you take extra care of your personal security. While it's smart to reduce your risk of a home burglary by protecting yourself with a home security system and upgrading your doors and locks, you should be especially vigilant if you live alone. Follow these tips to improve your home security when you're going solo.
- Install a home security system: A home security system is like having your own personal security team mounted on a wall. With 24/7 monitoring, you can be sure that there's always someone watching out for you. Burglars are less likely to target homes with home security systems, and when confronted with an alarm, they are more likely to flee than stay and burglarize your home -- or attack you.
- Get to know your neighbors: You may live alone, but you're not alone in your neighborhood. Introduce yourself to neighbors and let them know that you live alone so that they will be more likely to watch out for you. And be sure to let them know if you'll be heading out of town so they can keep an eye on your house for you.
- Get to know your neighborhood: Be familiar with the area you live in. Recognize your the cars your neighbors drive, the people who are usually on the streets, and the usual habits of the neighborhood. Being aware of your neighborhood can help you identify any activities that are out of the ordinary -- and you should contact the police to inform them of these activities.
- Get a dog: Burglars hate dogs. Why? They are their own security system, barking at intruders whether they're excited or defensive. Even the friendliest dog is a problem for burglars, as their noise can attract the attention of neighbors. Some dogs may even defend you if you are personally attacked, making them not just excellent companions, but an excellent line of defense against potential burglars.
- Make it look like more people are home: It's not always easy to tell if a home has a single occupant from the outside, but having just one car in the driveway and a single light on at a time can give clues. Close your curtains, consider asking a neighbor to use your driveway, turn on an extra light, or better yet, set a timer on your lights so that it looks like more than one person is home at all times. Don't put your full first name on your mailbox, only your initial, and consider putting an extra pair of boots outside on your front porch to make it look like there's more than one person at home.
- Install a personal security app on your phone: More for security while you're out than while you're at home, a personal security app can nevertheless keep you safer. Apps such as Kitestring allow you to check in with friends or family to let them know if you haven't arrived home safely. They'll get an alert that lets them know they need to check on you, and that you may have trouble at home or elsewhere. Even if you don't want to install a personal security app, it's a good idea to have a safety buddy that you can check in with.
- Be careful with your keys: Be cautious about who you give your keys to, and avoid hiding a spare key in an obvious place. Only give keys to friends or family members that you can truly trust.
- Be careful on social media: Avoid making it clear on social media that you live alone. You should also avoid making posts about your schedule, such as your work hours or when you're headed out to do some shopping. Be careful about checking in on Facebook or Foursquare, especially if you plan to be out for a while. Instead, check in after the fact with photos, or text friends directly to encourage them to join you where you are.
- Never greet contractors alone: If you have home repairs or any other reason for a stranger to visit your home, have a friend over at the same time. That way, you won't have to be alone in your home with them, and you'll also give them the impression that you live with a roommate or partner.
- Always lock your doors: It sounds like common sense, but you'd be surprised how many people leave their doors and windows unlocked, practically inviting intruders into their homes. Your doors and windows should always be locked safely whether you're home or not.
- Don't open your door for strangers: Some burglars may knock on your door with a clipboard in hand, posing as a solicitor. Do not encourage them by opening the door. Instead, use your peephole to identify visitors, and simply tell them you're not interested through the door.
- Be ready in case of an emergency: You should always have emergency numbers handy, just in case you get confused about calling for help in the heat of the moment. Place numbers in your pantry door, or store them in your wallet. You can also program important emergency numbers in your cell phone.
- Ask the police to inspect your home: Contact the police department to find out if they can send a police officer over to make security recommendations. They can walk through your home and point out any areas that make you vulnerable to criminals. This is also a good way to get familiar with your local police.