Living independently has a number of advantages, whether you’re going to college, are recently widowed or separated, or simply love the lifestyle, but perhaps its biggest disadvantage is that you live at a higher risk of robbery and home invasion. Every year, young women who live on their own are assaulted, raped, and even murdered, but there are measures that you can take in order to keep yourself safe and to avoid becoming a statistic.
Invest in Home Security
If you live in apartment, ask your landlord about installing an alarm system. If you are not permitted one, you can set up a wireless do-it-yourself kit that you can purchase at most home hardware stores. There are also smartphone apps available that allow you to monitor your entranceway with your phone and a wireless tablet or camera.
Install heavy-duty deadbolts on your doors and make sure the screws penetrate the door frame deeply so the door can’t be easily kicked in. If you live in an apartment, ask your landlord to install them for you. Don’t forget to deadbolt your patio doors too: they are a major point of entry when it comes to home invasion.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
When you’re approaching your door, be aware of your surroundings. Don’t distract yourself with your cell phone or fumble for your keys. Be aware of anyone else in the area and have your keys in hand so that you can enter your home as soon as possible.
Question Your Visitors
Even uniformed deliverymen or cops can be criminals in disguise. Always ask for ID and never open the door simply because they tell you to. Never let on that you’re in the home alone and if you don’t feel safe, ask that they leave the package on the front step.
Be Aware of Scams
Women who live alone are often targeted by criminals casing the area, so be aware of anyone who claims to have broken down in front of your home or tell you they have a medical emergency. Even if you see a vehicle, don’t open the door and offer to call for help. Even if you open the door a little, a criminal will try and force his way inside.
Lock Your Doors and Windows
While this might seem like an obvious precaution, if you live alone, you should keep your doors and windows locked at all times, even if you’re at home. An unlocked entrance is an invitation to home invasion or burglary. If you step out to run an errand, don’t leave your doors unlocked, even if you will only be gone a few minutes. Many criminals can move swiftly and make off with your laptop or new tablet before you know it.
Let People Know Where You Are
Let a trusted friend, you parents, or your boyfriend know your daily schedule and make plans to check in with them at least a few times a day. If you miss your check-in time, this may clue them in that something might be wrong. Women who live alone are sometimes not missed until a day or so after they are assaulted or abducted, so checking in with friends and family gives you a lifeline in case the unthinkable should happen.