According to data from the 2010 U.S. Census, 27% of Americans live alone.* All the typical security measures that go into a comprehensive home security plan apply to people living alone, of course. Everyone should have high-quality locks on doors and windows and practice good security habits like always locking up and making the home look occupied when traveling.
But people who live alone should take some extra precautions to help ensure their safety at home. Those who live alone don't have the advantage of extra eyes and ears to detect problems or an extra person to summon help in an emergency, but there are many things those in single-person households can do to improve their home security. Here are 10 home security tips for people who live alone.
1. Have a monitored home security system installed.
2. Get to know your neighbors.
Neighbors can act as an extra set of eyes, and can help you keep your home secure when you travel, by helping with tasks like picking up mail and keeping an eye on your home.
3. Augment window security.
In addition to high-quality window locks, you should have drapes or blinds that prevent people from seeing in. Consider planting thorny, vegetation-like rose bushes—or even wild blackberries—under windows to discourage anyone from getting close to windows. Cacti may be an option in some regions.
4. Use care on social media websites.
In addition to avoiding posting travel plans
on social media sites, don't post messages indicating you're home alone. It's also wise to avoid posting pictures of valuable new purchases, such as a laptop, tablet or HD television.
5. Install or request lighting over driveways or parking lots.
Motion-sensor floodlights over your driveway can scare off intruders and are convenient for you when you arrive home after dark. If you live in an apartment complex, ask your landlord if security lighting can be added in parking lots.
6. Consider adopting a dog.
You do not have to adopt a large, intimidating dog to boost your home security. Small dogs with loud barks can let you know someone is in the vicinity well before you would know of their presence.
7. Lock the doors when leaving and after arriving home.
You know to lock your doors when you leave home, but you should also lock the door behind you as soon as you arrive home. Practice this consistently and after a couple of weeks it will be second nature to lock up when you walk in the door.
8. Schedule service calls carefully.
Try to arrange service calls when you can have a friend or family member over. While most service workers are good people, crimes are occasionally traced back to those dispatched on service calls, and it's safer if you're not alone when a service worker shows up.
9. Keep your yard looking nice.
Keeping your yard maintained is a great way to appear as if you’re frequently home. Trimming your shrubs, keeping your grass cut, and making sure your windows are not blocked, are all great security measures to take to help prevent burglary.
10. Consider electronic personal protection devices.
Many women who live alone carry pepper spray, but there are also electronic devices available to enhance personal security. Small, wireless panic buttons that emit a piercing 130-decibel sound can be carried in a pocket, and you can also buy GPS devices that show your location. This feature could be valuable in the event of an emergency away from home, too.