Living solo definitely has its perks, like 100 percent control of the TV and never having to wait for the shower. But if you live alone or are planning to move into a place by yourself, you might feel a little nervous about living independently. Especially when there are nearly 4 million property crime reports each year, according to the FBI. Living alone could make you a target for home invasion and burglary.
Don’t sit at home feeling anxious about what could happen. Put yourself in control by making sure you have safeguards in place. The secret to feeling safer when you live alone is to plan ahead and protect yourself. That way you can enjoy all of that unchallenged TV control. Here are some tips to get you started.
8 Ways To Feel Safer If You Live Alone
1. Get a Security System
Security systems used to be expensive, confusing, and hard to set up. Today’s security systems are much simpler and more affordable. Whether you harness the power of your smartphone to monitor your place or you choose a monitored system, there’s no reason to leave your home completely unprotected. A security system can detect motion, record your home, and even alert the authorities if you’re in trouble, making it a worthwhile investment. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that security systems are too pricey or too complicated. Do your research and find the right fit so you can feel protected.
There’s something to be said for getting to know your neighbors, and it’s not just for borrowing a cup of sugar. Taking the time to introduce yourself and getting to know your neighbors gives you an added line of defense against potential intruders. If your neighbors know you work during the day, they’ll (rightfully) question someone trying to access your place when you’re away. That nosy neighbor might be one of your best allies against possible intruders.
3. Get Key Smart
There’s nothing like getting that first key to your own place, And, obviously, locking your doors and windows is a no-brainer when it comes to protection. But don’t let the triumph of home-ownership cause you to forget that you’re probably not the only one with the key. Landlords, past owners, and even complete strangers might have a copy.
If possible, change the locks on your new place as soon as you move in. If you can’t, make sure you ask your landlord who else has a key and install secondary measures, like deadbolts, to add extra security. If you need to give your key to someone, make sure it’s someone you trust and don’t leave spares around where they can be easily found (that means you, person who keeps a spare under the welcome mat).
4. Create an Exit Strategy
Living alone means the only person who can plan for emergencies is you. Make sure that you always have an exit strategy to get out of your home or apartment in case of an emergency or an intruder. It could be as simple as outfitting one of your upstairs windows with an emergency ladder or tracing a path through your home to easily get to the back door. Go through a few scenarios and plan how to get out of your place quickly and quietly.
5. Stay Offline
Hey, we get it: You want your friends to know when you’re lounging on the beach instead of being stuck in an office. But posting your location online or letting the Internet know when your place is conveniently empty makes you an easy target. Never disclose when you’ll be on vacation. You can always post those beach pics when you’re home safe and sound.
6. Think Like an Intruder
One way to feel safer when living alone is to try thinking like an intruder. Head outside and start by looking at your home from the street. Are there shrubs around your door that make for great hiding places? Can you see big-ticket items (think TVs) in the window from the street?
Thinking like an intruder can give you insight into areas of your home that make you an easy target. Take a walk around your home and check doors, peer into windows, and see if there are spots where you can improve security to make your home less appealing to intruders.
7. Turn on the Lights
Lights are a quick and easy way to deter intruders. Motion-detecting lights are inexpensive and work well to shine a spotlight on would-be burglars or other intruders. By installing a few near your home’s entrances, you can add another line of defense to your place without spending a lot of time and money.
You can also use apps and smart devices to put your home’s interior lights on timers. If you’re going to be away for a few days or are nervous at night, put timers on your lights so it always looks like someone is home and awake.
8. Install a Doorbell Camera
The newest generation of doorbell cameras make it easier than ever to feel safe in your home. Just seeing one when approaching a home could be enough to discourage a home intruder. Because they record the comings and goings outside your front door, they give you video evidence in case your house is ever breached. What’s more, they give you an up close and personal look at who is at your door without having to put yourself at risk. You can view who’s there on your device and decide whether it’s safe to answer. You can also communicate through the doorbell, which means accepting packages or letting someone know you’re home without having to physically open the door.
Living independently has its perks, but it can also put you at risk. Would-be home invaders are always looking for easy targets, and the fewer people that live in a home, the easier it is to get in unnoticed. While not everyone can put a large guard dog on watch, everyone can have the peace of mind that comes from digital and practical protection. Plan ahead and you can reap the benefits of living solo without feeling like a target.