Last year, CBS News published a story saying that there are over 32 million Americans who live alone. This is a stark contrast to 1950, when that number was just 4 million. The article also mentioned that over 17 million of solo dwellers are women. If you fall into that last group, or know someone who does, keep reading to learn a few ways to stay safer while enjoying the perks of living alone.
Don’t Give the Wrong Impression
Potential intruders may look for tiny clues that might indicate whether a person is living alone. On a mailbox, don’t use your full first and last name. Instead, use an initial in place of the first name. Also, if you still use a landline telephone with a voicemail box, don’t speak in the first person or give out your name there, either. Tell callers, “We can’t come to the phone right now,” or something similar, and instead of mentioning a name, just restate the number they’ve dialed. These tips might sound simple, but if someone has bad intentions, he or she could be on the lookout for these details.
Be Alert and On Guard
Sometimes, women live alone find themselves in trouble after becoming too comfortable with the idea of living alone. Even if you’ve lived alone for several years and never encountered problems, that’s not an excuse to reduce awareness. If you live in an apartment complex, you may have the advantage of an intercom system, and many residences of all types have peepholes on the door. Think about going a step further and also installing an alert system that can tell you of someone’s presence before he or she reaches the door.
A driveway alarm is especially helpful if you live in an isolated area and don’t have nearby neighbors. Besides letting you know if someone is on the property, some models can also be set up to trigger exterior alarms or lights that could further deter an intruder.
Also, when you have a need to invite someone to your property, such as to perform a service call, schedule it carefully during a time that you’ll be home, and preferably when a friend can be there with you. Usually, service providers don’t wish to cause trouble, but there have been some cases of a few taking advantage of people who appear vulnerable.
Mix It Up
Many people find it very comforting to assume a regular schedule from week to week, where they go to work, shop for groceries and dine out at generally the same times. Although these habits don’t necessarily cause problems for women who live alone, they could make it easier for an intruder to track when a house might be vacant, or when you might be coming home with your hands full of shopping bags, and a prime target for an attack.
Do your best to vary things as much as possible. Sometimes it’s hard to change up a schedule for work too much, especially if you’re trying to beat rush-hour traffic, but on the weekends, or any other time when your daily plan is more flexible, switch things up so it never seems as if you have a routine.
Living alone has many advantages, and you can emphasize well-being by being mindful of the suggestions above and not setting yourself up as a target for problems.
Sharon Smith is an avid blogger. If you’re a woman living alone, looking into purchasing the the Driveway Informer.