How to Stay Safe While Living Alone

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Living alone can be a wonderful experience, if you are safe. From security systems to locking the door, there are many things you can do to stay safe. Make a safety plan and take precautions first, then enjoy the freedom of living alone.

Apartment Living

  • Know your neighbors. You don't have to invite them to tea, but knowing your neighbors and who their visitors are will keep you aware of your surroundings. Exchange phone numbers with a close neighbor, to use in case of emergency.

  • Keep windows, doors and patio doors locked. Always use the peephole to see who is at the door before you open it.

  • Walk with your keys in your hand; they can be used as a weapon in case of an emergency.

  • Park your car in a well-lit area of the parking lot. If you have a parking garage, park close to the elevator.

  • Install a temporary or removable security system if possible. If you cannot use a security system, consider a "foghorn" type of can that makes a loud noise, similar to the ones used at sporting events.

  • Keep a flashlight by the bedside and by the entryway.

  • Install a phone in the bedroom, and program 911 into it.

Living in a House

  • Keep doors and windows locked; this is the first step in staying safe. Check exterior door frames for dry rot, and add deadbolts to all exterior doors. Make sure the doors are made of solid wood or metal, not hollow core doors. Check the window locks, to make sure they are in good working order. Place a wood or metal bar in the lower track of sliding glass doors, for added protection.

  • Install a security system or a life alert program. The life alert program is not just for sick or elderly people; it's a great program for those who live alone. It is a monthly program that monitors your well being.

  • Install a motion detector outdoors, to light the walkways and sides of the house. Make sure the porch lights are working.

  • Trim bushes and plants in front of doors and windows; they can offer a good hiding place for a burglar.

  • Get a dog and keep it indoors with you. A dog can keep you safe by warning you of intruders. If you keep a dog outside, it can become the first victim of a burglar and give you no protection. Some burglars have been known to make friends with a dog for a few days, then rob the house and take the dog.

Tips & Warnings

  • Don't get into an elevator if you are uncomfortable with the occupant; make an excuse and wait for an empty car.
  • List only your last name and first initial in the phone book.
  • Reprogram the answering machine to add the word "we."
  • Never leave ladders or tools within easy reach, as a burglar can use them to break in.
  • Never leave a spare key under the mat or flowerpot; a burglar knows where to look.
  • Never allow an uninvited person into your home; make an excuse if necessary.
  • Always check credentials of repairmen, and call their place of business to verify.
  • Always take gun safety classes, if you plan on keeping a gun.

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