You have landed your first job after college and found an apartment of your own. Nice!
But now your new environment may not be as safe as your parents’ home, or the dorm you once lived in. Living alone requires new considerations on how to maintain your safety, particularly if you are a woman. Although single females are often key targets of home invasions, anyone who’s a first-timer can use these great tips.
According to security expert Robert Siciliano, if your friends know you keep cash, drugs, and valuables in your home, you may be targeted. “Recognize that a break-in is a real possibility, and do not assume that the people you are socializing with are not capable of victimizing you," said Siciliano. “If you have friends that abuse drugs and alcohol, or have been involved in [a] crime in the past, make a decision about who you want to continue hanging around [with] now that you are living alone.“
If you enlist friends to help you move, pack and unpack your most valuable possessions while you are alone. Keep your valuables hidden when you have company, and refrain from sharing information about costly items you own in person and on social media. “Always lock your doors and windows. Consider purchasing an alarm system, even if you install it yourself to save money, or invest in door reinforcement technology. Ensure your unit has a deadbolt and knob lock on the front door," said Siciliano.
If you live in a secured building, do not let strangers enter. Report anyone who looks suspicious to the building management or police. If you are a woman, use your first initial and last name on your mailbox to make it appear gender neutral to criminals looking for new victims. Be aware that criminals often disguise themselves as delivery, repairmen, or public service workers. Do not open the door for guests you are not expecting. Get into the habit of checking your surroundings when you enter and leave your home. If you arrive home and your door is ajar, or your apartment seems to have been tampered with, leave immediately and call the police.
In the event someone breaks in while you are home alone, Siciliano offers the following tips:
1. Hide your valuables. If you have time to do so, quickly hide your valuables in unlikely places to prevent theft.
2. Use any opportunity to escape. Throw items like wallets and purses out the nearest exit or, at the very least, away from your body. This may give you the chance to make a run for it when the intruder collects the item.
3. Fight for your life. Try to avoid a confrontation, but if you are unable to escape and feel your life is in jeopardy, prepare to fight.
Living alone does not have to be dangerous. By utilizing the information above, you can avoid being a victim of crime, or prepare yourself in case it ever happens to you.
Citizen Defense Training. (2013). What to do when an intruder breaks in. Retrieved from Citizen Defense Training.
St. Joseph News-Press. (2010). Home safe home: New technology and common sense can keep burglars away. Retrieved from TMC.
Robert, S. (2014, April 08). Interview by S L [Personal Interview]. Personal safety tips for living on your own.