Top 10 Safety Tips for Women Living Alone
Solitary living can be great fun. Women living alone enjoy more space, greater freedom, and a cozy retreat reserved all for themselves.
That said, living alone has some drawbacks in addition to perks. The biggest downside of solitary life involves personal safety, as women on their own do not have roomies or family to regularly check in on them or keep an eye out for suspicious activity.
To contend with matters of safety, there are some very simple fixes women living alone can employ to ensure their personal security. The major actions one can take are outlined below.
Always Lock Up
Depending on where you live, it might not be de rigueur to lock doors. If you are a woman living alone (or anyone, for that matter), I recommend playing it safe and locking up at night. Even if you do not care for your personal safety, locking up at night can protect your financial safety- after all, even your renter's insurance will not cover you for stolen goods if you did not properly lock up.
Simply make a habit of locking entrances to your home every time you come inside. That way, you won't be so likely to get distracted and forget to lock your doors before going to sleep. Also, be sure to lock your windows whenever they are closed.
One excellent benefit enjoyed by women living alone is that they are free to dress however they like, presumably because nobody else is looking. But here's the thing- if you don't have or use your curtains, the whole world can see you.
Whether you want to stave off pervy peeping toms or simply keep your tendency to wear stained old sweats and college sweatshirts a secret, it is a good idea to utilize the brilliant masking technology afforded by curtains. This is a simple, but very effective fix.
BONUS: Curtains conceal not only you, but also your expensive widescreen television and large display of diamonds! If folks can't see things, they won't be so tempted to steal them.
Regularly Check in with a Safety Buddy
There is a common joke / unspoken fear amongst women living alone that at some point they'll choke/trip on something and be left alone to die, only to be consumed by pet cats/dogs and discovered two weeks later by neighbors. Clearly there is some danger in living alone in that if something goes wrong - if you don't make it home, or get very sick, or injure yourself - there will be nobody there to notice.
Because there is nobody else to check on you, the best thing to do is create your own check-in system. A protected Twitter feed that you update regarding your whereabouts and that your closest friends and family members follow.
Get Motion-Sensitive Outdoor Lights
A friend of mine once had an issue with someone lurking about outside her bedroom window at night, which is incredibly creepy. Being a very busy and important professional, she did not have time to stake out on her roof with a shotgun to wait for the offender to return, so she installed motion-sensing lights outside her house instead.
The solution is simple and effective - when intruders trip the lights, they get spooked and take off. What's more, whoever is inside will see the lights turn on and will know to be on the lookout. As a note, just be careful to make sure these outdoor lights to not disturb your neighbors.
Install a Home Security System
Many home security system companies market directly to women and it makes complete sense - when one has nobody else to check in on them of some jerk decides to swing by and break a window, it might be nice to have backup.
Much of what these systems offer involves peace of mind - one can simply rest easier knowing that there is backup. But if one lives alone in a somewhat shady area, home security systems could be life-saving - either as a deterrent, or, in a worst case scenario, as a line of final defense.
Meet Your Neighbors
If you get to know those who live around you, you may have some extra people looking out for you. When you move to a new place, make a point of getting to know your neighbors - perhaps bring over some freshly baked cookies or take some time to chat with them when you see them out and about. At the very least, you'll get to know those who live in your neighborhood. At the very best, your neighbors will keep an eye out for you- and you might even make some great friends!
Get a Dog or Cat
Many people consider pet dogs to be home security systems, and for sure, some dogs can offer protection, but it is the friendship and companionship that many pets offer that really makes a difference. Aside from keeping women living alone feeling less, well, lonely, pets also do wonders when it comes to alleviating stress. So if you have the time, resources, and space (and if your landlords allow it), consider getting a pet!
Bonus Tip: Mix it Up!
While you might be monitoring neighborhood patterns, other people might be monitoring your patterns. It is much easier to burglarize a home, snoop around, or engage in other questionable mischief when one knows the patterns of one's victim. By varying your routine and making your patterns unpredictable, you can make yourself less of a target.
Monitor Neighborhood Patterns
A lot of scares can result from seeing a suspicious car or person lurking about at night, and while some of these scares are legitimate, many result form simply not knowing who belongs around your home and who does not.
A simple way to resolve this issue is to pay careful attention to cars, people, and other patterns that take place near and around your home. This way, you will be more likely to take heed when something is not quite right.
Watch Those Keys!
It might seem convenient to give copies of the keys to your home to various friends and helpers, such as cleaning people or delivery people, but be extremely careful when managing your keys. Ideally, only you and people you might consider to be emergency contacts will have keys to your home. That way, you're less likely to be a victim of theft or home invasion... plus you won't be rudely interrupted by over-friendly friends who just decide to let themselves in when they're in the neighborhood!
Bonus Tip: Manage Private Information IRL
Though many of us are concerned about personal information that shows up online, it is equally important to make sure that offline personal information is equally protected. Shred personal documents before putting them out in your recycling, and do not put your phone number or driver's license on personal checks.
Manage Your Social Media Presence
It may be fun to check in on Foursquare and Facebook everywhere you go, but doing so in an uncotrolled manner may let a few too many people know about your whereabouts. Tweeting that you're all alone in your apartment with all the windows open or something... might be a bit unsafe. Also, announcing your impending trip out of town on public social media channels is practically an invitation to thieves who know where you live to help themselves to your collection of expensive electronics/rubies/Star Wars figurines.
Even if all of your social media channels are protected and only friends can see them, you may still want to limit the information you share regarding your present whereabouts. Even friends might ultimately turn on you- clearly that sounds paranoid, but a surprising number of kidnappings, assaults, and murders each year are perpetrated by individuals who know their victims.
Use Common Sense
In the end, it is simply a good idea to keep one's wits about onself- whether living alone or not.
I hope you have found these tips to be helpful, and if you have used any other tactics to protect your personal safety in your own home, feel free to share them in the comments below!