In a perfect world, criminals wouldn’t target single women living alone. Okay, in a very perfect world there wouldn’t be criminals. But not much good is done by sitting around and wishing things were different. We have to A) Take steps to change things and B) Take precautions to be safe while things still are the way they are. And as of now, the way things are is that women are the victims in 80 percent of sexual assaults recorded by police. Even those with less sinister aims—like burglars looking to take valuables—still target women living alone, presuming they are less physically capable of defending themselves. On a personal note I know that, as a woman, I have a tendency to want to be agreeable which is why sometimes I answer the questions of strangers, and talk to suspicious individuals, all so I don’t come off as rude. But your safety should take priority over being polite. Here are security tips for women living alone.
Wait even longer to invite dates over
No woman—with or without a roommate—should have men they just met over to their homes. You know very little of this man’s mental or emotional stability or his past. Women living alone should wait extra long to have someone over. If things go sour, they don’t want a revengeful and spurned man to know their address. First date safety should extend to several follow-up dates for women living alone.
Get to know your neighbors
Women living alone should get to know their neighbors well. Find the ones you can trust, and ask them to keep an eye out for you. Developing good relationships with your neighbors will make them feel more protective of you, and more likely to call the police if they see something suspicious happening around your property.
When hosting service professionals, bring a friend
If you need to have a plumber, contractor, or any other service professional over, have a friend be there at the same time. You don’t want to be in your home, alone, with a stranger. And, of course, thoroughly vet any company you hire.
Look around before approaching your door
Any time you go home, before approaching your front door, look around to make sure nobody is watching you. If you ever suspect someone is watching you to determine in which exact apartment or house you live, delay walking to your front door until that person is gone. Never hesitate to call the police if you feel unsafe, or go to a neighbor’s home.
Get mail for a fake roommate
Consider ordering a regular catalog to a fake person who does not live in your home. Subscribe to a magazine for a fictitious man, so that anyone prowling around your mailbox to determine who lives in your home believes a man lives with you.
Put deadbolts on all doors
Regular locks can be easily picked. Add deadbolts to all entrances to your home. Also add one to your bedroom door. If anyone should get into your house, you need a way to barricade yourself in one room until the police arrive.
Keep your phone charged and bedside
Always keep your cell phone charged, and next to your bed. Install an alarm app on your phone so that when you are panicked or rushed, you can just push one button and notify the police that you need assistance.
Never answer the door for strangers
Never, ever answer the door for someone you aren’t expecting. Remember that landlords must give you at least 24 hours notice before sending over a service professional, so if someone shows up claiming your landlord sent him but you did not receive notice, do not open the door. Even door-to-door petitioners could just be burglars hoping to gather information about you and your home.
Petition for safer parking
Petition your landlord to add a gate to the parking area, or to add more lights to the parking area. If you have one of the less safe parking spots, ask a male tenant to switch with you.
Meet delivery guys outside
If you order delivery food, always meet the delivery person out on the sidewalk. You do not need to provide an apartment number—simply leave instructions that the delivery person is to call you when he is outside.
Keep curtains closed
Keep your blinds and curtains closed so that onlookers cannot determine how many people live inside of your home. If you live in a ground floor unit with an enclosed patio, add additional plants or building materials to make it difficult for anyone to look into your home.
Rent your extra parking space
If your place comes with two parking spots, rent one out. This is not only a great way to make passive income, but it also makes it looks to outsiders as if two people live inside.
Have a nightly check-in buddy
Team up with another single friend living alone and agree to check in every night. Promise to text one another, each night, when you’re home safely. If one person doesn’t receive a text, the other knows to follow up, and possibly call the police.
Be militant about working locks
Don’t let your landlord sleep on finicky and old locks, windows, and doors. Every door and window should close tightly and have well-working locks. Demand these are up to date.
Be wary of selfies
When you take selfies, do they show a piece of mail in the background that shows your address? Does your selfie show your cross streets? Be very careful about what you reveal online.