There are many upsides to living alone – there are no privacy issues, you get the bathroom all to yourself and you no longer have to deal with difficult housemates. But before you enjoy all the above, here are 10 safety tips you should keep in mind when living alone.
1. Make sure your locks are not faulty
One could easily argue that investing in an alarm system is the way to go but let’s face it, if you live alone, chances are you are renting a place and you don’t really get to demand these things from your landlord. So if it’s a rental, be sure to change your locks the minute you officially move in and make sure your locks are functioning properly.
2. Create a pepper spray hot spot
Besides having a can of mace in your handbag, you should have a few cans around your home – one in the kitchen, bathroom, living room and bedroom. So instead of rummaging through your bag for your pepper spray, you’ll have one in every section of your home.
3. Don’t pile up your mailbox
One of the easiest ways to tell if someone is not home is through their mailbox. Make sure you constantly empty out your letterbox and if you are going away more than a week, get a friend, neighbour or family member to help you collect your mail.
4. Be friendly to your neighbours
Okay, not too friendly but it does help to know who is living near you. If you’re lucky enough to find a good and helpful neighbour, you can always ask them to keep an eye on your house while you’re at work or away on vacation. Plus, if you’re always not home, your neighbours are your eyes and ears of the neighbourhood.
5. Be selective when giving out private information
Aside from your family members, friends and colleagues, no one else really needs to know if you live alone. You’ll never know which suspicious character might eavesdrop and make you their next target. For example, never expose publicly that you live alone and if an acquaintance or stranger asks whether you live alone, just routinely say no. You’re not lying, you just don’t owe anyone an explanation.
6. Exercise good judgement when it comes to private security
No matter how professional or responsible your security guard is, you should never trust them completely and I speak from personal experience when I say this. If you think about it, they are strangers who know your social pattern (what time you go to work and come home) and your address and that’s probably way too much info already. Just because someone wears a badge for a living doesn’t make them any more trustworthy, so never give out more information than you have to.
7. Pretend you don’t live alone
Living alone increases the possibility of you being a target and you can try reducing this by pretending you live with another person. A few tried and tested methods include leaving the lights on when you’re out and calling out someone’s name if there’s an unexpected stranger at your door (or pizza delivery guy).
8. Leave your car with a friend or family member if you are going on vacation
If you’re away for more than three days, it’s best you leave your car with a friend or at your parents’ if they live nearby. Just remember that no activity makes your home an easy target.
9. Inform your whereabouts to a trusted person
It’s so much easier these days with a smart phone and you can easily form a family group chat or one with your closest friends. You don’t always have to do this but if you have a last minute, unforeseen appointment, that’s the time to do so.
10. Leave a weapon in your bedroom
Okay, I know this sounds incredibly ridiculous but trust me, you can never be too careful these days. A close friend of mine used to live in a notorious neighbourhood in Perth and there were so many break-in incidents that she started sleeping with a knife under her bed. What I’m trying to say is, it’s not a bad idea to have a weapon you’re comfortable with in your bedroom so long as you don’t end up hurting yourself.