These safety tips for women living alone are meant to help you feel safer and more secure in your everyday life. I may not technically live alone, but my husband works overnights, so for all intents and purposes, I live alone half of the day. I hate being alone at night - I find myself jumping at every tiny sound and being startled awake by wind blowing sticks around on my deck. When I lived on my own I took several precautions and even now when I’m alone at night, I follow almost all of these safety tips for women living alone.
1. Car Alarm
One of the least known safety tips for women living alone is that you may very well have a security alarm in your possession that you don’t even use. If you have a key fob to unlock your car doors, keep your keys close to your bed when you sleep. When you hit the panic button the alarm will sound and most likely scare any intruder away. Should your particular unwanted guest be especially determined, the loud and obnoxious sound will almost certainly draw others outside out of annoyance, at which time you can yell for help.
2. Bar in Sliding Glass Door
If you have a deck or patio with a sliding glass door, this can be a worry for you; at least it is for me. Find a metal pole, mop handle or similar item and wedge it into the track of the door. No matter how hard someone jostles and pulls at the door there is no way they will get it open, and breaking the glass causes a lot of unwanted noise and attention. If someone is looking for a quick, quiet entry, the immovable door will deter them.
Perhaps one of the most obvious security implements may be one of the least thought about devices. I have learned through terrible experiences that if you move into a new apartment, you need to change the locks. You never know how many copies of the key the former tenants may have made or when they might unexpectedly show up, drunk, in the middle of the night thinking they still live there. Yes, that really happened to me. The landlord should pay for this re-keying or lock replacement for you, but even if they don’t, it is worth the minimal cost to do it yourself. You can get a new lock at any hardware store and they are reasonably easy to install yourself. Just make sure your landlord has a spare key if it is required where you live. Along with the change of locks, I strongly recommend installing an additional chain or sliding bolt lock if you are able to. I personally had an experience living in a building where the landlord waltzed into all of our apartments without notice whenever he wanted. Several times this occurred while I was sleeping. A chain lock is an added measure to ensure you are safe when you are in your home.
4. Social Media Updates
If you live alone, do not advertise it on your social media networks. Do not post Facebook updates indicating that you live by yourself. Even if your security settings are strict and you think everything is kept just between friends, systems do experience glitches. People may forget to sign out of their account and others may see your information. It sounds ridiculous but it has happened. Do not post any information about your schedule such as "Working 10-8 today, gonna be a long day!" Any information that allows people to know where you will be at any specific time gives them an opportunity to enter your residence when they know you will not be there. It may seem unfair that you have to stop yourself from checking in on Foursquare or Facebook just because you live alone, but your safety and privacy are more important than your friends being able to locate you. If they need to know where you are, they know your number.
A great way to discourage intruders is to make them believe you are not alone. Prowlers tend to see single women as easy prey. There are several things you can do to make them unsure about the occupancy of the apartment or home you are living in. First of all, never put your first name on your mailbox. Your first initial and last name leaves the gender of the resident ambiguous. If you have a front porch or walkway, stick an old pair of men’s boots by your door. You can pick some up for a few dollars at a local consignment shop. It may seem silly, but someone looking for an easy target would think twice if they thought there might be a big burly man inside.
6. Have a Weapon
While I am not a huge supporter of guns, I do think it is important to have some means of protecting yourself should you encounter a problem. I keep pepper spray next to my bed and in my purse at all times. It may seem paranoid, but if I should ever need it, it’s there. I used to have a knife, but after careful consideration I wasn’t sure I’d be able to really go through with using it. Pepper spray allows you to incapacitate your attacker without physically interacting with them or needing to get close enough for them to be able to touch you.
7. Be Careful
Use common sense. Keep your doors locked when you’re home as well as when you are not. Do not invite strangers into your home. Be aware of your environment when you are walking between your car and your front door. Have your keys in your hand and ready, do not stand at the door and fumble with them. Do whatever you need to do to make yourself feel secure.
I hope that following these safety tips for women living alone allows you to have some peace of mind. It is important to feel protected and safe in your own home without the fear of someone hurting you or your belongings. What are some safety tips you would like to pass along?