Practical things you can do to up your living-alone safety factor!
A lot of times the thought of living alone isn’t as intolerable from a loneliness standpoint as it is from one of safety. Especially for single women, the thought of living alone can seem downright scary. If you’re used to living with a man and have placed the burden of security on him, then figuring out how to live safely on your own can seem daunting. Even if you’ve lived alone for years and think you’re pretty good at it, when something goes bump in the night even the seasoned pro can find her heart pounding and her mind racing. There are many things you can do, however, to put your mind at ease and get a better night’s sleep. This list certainly isn’t exhaustive, but here I give you fourteen things you can do to start living alone more safely!
The 14 things
- Always keep your doors and windows locked. It doesn’t matter if it’s daytime or nighttime, or if you’ve left the house for a day, a week, or are actually in the house, keep ‘em locked. This includes the door between the garage and the house, which can be easier to kick in than your front door. Keep it locked even when you’re just running to the store. Even if someone manages to break into the garage it’s going to be difficult for them to get into the house. Make a habit out of locking doors behind you no matter what and keep the windows locked at all times. If you need to open a window for heat regulation purposes, close it as soon as you can, and don’t leave windows open at night unless they can’t be accessed, such as ones on the second floor.
- Get a security door. There are steel security doors that install like a screen door and can be used as such in the summer. There are ones that lock and unlock only with a key on either side, so that even if someone easily broke through the screen there’s no lever or knob to turn to unlock the door. Keep the key in a safe place, not in the door for convenience!
- Get 1”x2” pieces of wood and cut them to fit in the tracks of your windows so that they can’t be opened even if the locks were to be broken or forced open in some way. Home improvement stores will usually even cut these for you if you have your measurements. Put them in all of your windows. This goes for any sliding glass doors, as well. Slider locks are oftentimes easy to force open, but a piece of wood in the track will keep the door from being able to be pushed open.
- If you have window wells, get locking covers for them. Locking covers can be pushed up and off from below, for escape window purposes, but can’t be pulled up and off from above. You can get adjustable ones from the home improvement store or custom fit ones from specialty companies.
- Consider getting a Ring doorbell. It alerts you and shows you who’s at your door so you can decide whether or not you want to answer it. It will also show you if the same suspicious person comes to your door repeatedly and it records the activity.
- For even more protection, install a home security system. There are many different models and price points to choose from, so have a conversation with a professional to see which one is right for you.
- If a whole-home security system seems to go too far for you, maybe a security camera is a better idea. Have one installed any place outside where you think you may be vulnerable, such as a secluded area that can’t easily be seen from the street or by the neighbors.
- If you don’t feel that you need security cameras, either, but want a little extra protection outside, how about having motion sensor lights Install them in the same places you would install security cameras, and place them over your doors, as well. If a bright light all of a sudden shines on someone lurking around your house, it may just be enough to scare them off.
- Indoors, keep wasp spray by your bed. Unlike pepper spray, wasp spray shoots 20 feet or more so someone doesn’t have to get close to you in order for you to spray it in their eyes. You also don’t run the risk of accidentally using it on yourself.
- Keep your car keys on your nightstand. If you think someone is in your house, activate your car alarm. If you live in a home with shared walls or your car is parked outside, you’ll likely alert the neighbors and the noise may be enough to scare someone off anyway.
- This is a controversial subject, but you can get yourself a hand gun and keep it by your bed. Most states require you to attend usage and safety classes so you’ll be prepared to use it should the situation arise.
- If you believe you have an intruder, scream your head off and pound on any shared walls. I actually knew a woman who did this when she woke up to find someone in her bedroom. The amount of noise she made scared the intruder enough to send him out the window. Remember, having them get caught would be great, but your main objective needs to be getting them away from you!
- Make sure to always keep your phone beside your bed so that you can call for help if you need it. If it’s locked, just swipe up to make an emergency call. Never venture outside to check out a strange noise, especially at night. If you hear something suspicious, call someone, even if it’s just a neighbor. I’ve heard of would-be intruders turning on the water at an outdoor spigot or playing the noise of a baby or cat crying to lure someone out of her house. Call someone!
- Which brings me to my final tip – have the phone numbers of your neighbors in your phone and in a contacts list. The last thing you want to find when you need help is that you don’t have anyone to call. Let your neighbors know that they’re on your notification list so that if you call them they’ll be sure to pick up.
Living alone safely
I’ve had many people tell me that they don’t take specific security precautions around their homes because if someone wants to get in, they’re going to get in. This may be true, but my take on it has always been that I’m going to do everything I can to prevent it and if someone still gets in at least it’ll be due to no fault of mine. The worst thing would be to be negligent about your security and have that be the reason that something happens to you. Also, remember that people who are trying to break into homes look for the easiest mark. If you’ve made your home as difficult as possible to infiltrate then chances are good that they’ll pass you right by. You always want to be aware of your surroundings and alerted to anything that seems “off,” but taking the precautions above should at least give you the peace of mind that you’ve done everything you can. Living alone doesn’t have to be scary, but it should absolutely be done as safely as possible!
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