You remember Kevin Mc Callister, the ‘Home Alone’ star? Here are tips on how to beat him at the ‘Home Alone’ security game.
Living alone has its benefits. No race to the bathroom to get ready in the morning, sole control of TV and takeout choices, a pants/no-pants policy, as you see fit. But there are also some drawbacks, security not least among them.
It seems like the number of people who now live alone is on the increase. We have more single ladies now who live their families to stay alone, especially those that of marriageable age who still don’t have suitors.
It’s mildly depressing and a tad unfair, but the fact is, when you’re living alone, you’re often seen as a more vulnerable target for home invasion, especially the ladies. And it makes sense: when you’re solo, it’s you versus intruder(s), no best friend, roommate, or partner to help defend your turf.
Most people don’t have the time to set up an elaborate “Home Alone”-style party every night in an attempt to deter criminal activity. But everyone should make time to gather expert security tips for living alone.
So whether you’re loving the freedom of solo domestic life or bunking with seven of your best friends, here are a couple of ways to make it safer.
1. Light it right
Lighting is a huge safety factor — just get it right. Outdoor lighting is a huge deterrent for intruders, or even just people snooping around. But don’t leave your lights on for 24 hours a day. It can actually attract burglars to leave your lights on during daylight hours.
The same goes for interior lighting. It’s natural for people to have the lights off in the day and on at night. Anything else can be a signal that you aren’t home.
Extra lights on when you’re alone at night can create the illusion someone else is there. (Just keep it to one or two rooms, because, you know … the environment.
2. Make like Kevin McCallister
The “Home Alone” idea actually isn’t ridiculous. Nobody needs to know you’re alone. Things like lighting and gadgets can help, but there are also some simple tricks.
For women especially, an amazing psychological and simplistic deterrent is to take a pair of men’s size 13 or 14 work boots and leave them in front of the door. Another simple deterrent: a giant dog’s water bowl.
The principle applies when you’re home with a stranger, too. Whenever you’re having someone over to repair your home, you should invite at least one other person over.
Even having a dog with you can decrease the likelihood that you become a target.
3. Lock safety #1: Don’t make assumptions
We tend to trust locks implicitly. And when we move somewhere new, most of us don’t do a lock overhaul.
Just like when you check into a hotel, they give you a key and most people assume ‘I’m safe. I can lock my door. But you have no idea who has the keys. In an apartment situation, you’re also assuming your landlord has changed the locks, but that assumption is false in many cases. Landlords often don’t change locks. There could be 20 keys out there.
Hound the landlord once you move in, and make sure those locks are new.
4. Lock safety #2: Get reinforcements
You’re living single, you want a strong door, and a deadbolt often isn’t enough. They’re designed to keep an honest person out, not a dishonest person. We strongly advise reading up on security doors, and consider investing in one. Security doors are usually very durable and will last for years to come, and are built with the sole intention of keeping intruders out.
5. Lock safety #3: Don’t forget to actually lock it!
Always lock your doors, even if you’re just running to take out the trash. It only takes someone a split second to slip into your home or apartment while your back is turned.
And whatever time you’re home alone, lock it up. Nearly half of all intruders enter through the front or back door, and that could be any time of day.
6. No security system? Fake it ‘til you make it
A lot of burglars look for signs of heightened security before deciding on a target. And when you’re living alone, a security system is a great investment.
If you can’t afford one, you still have options. If a security system isn’t in your budget at the moment, you can still display security signs or decals, as well as fake security cameras.
A sticker is better than nothing. And even going a step further, you can get that kitschy signage that says stuff like ‘Forget the Dog But Beware of the Owner.’ If burglars want an easy target, you won’t seem like one.
7. Use the Internet and social media wisely
You may be living single, but there are online communities that can keep you informed about crime in the neighborhood. There are also online ways to be less vulnerable, like not bragging about your upcoming vacation.
8. Know thy neighbour
Just because you’re on your own doesn’t mean you have to be alone. Always get to know your neighbours. The more people invested in your lives, the more likely they are to report an incident they see, to call the police if you need help, to watch your house while you are on vacation, or even to let you back into your home if you ever get locked out.
This assumes, of course, your neighbours themselves are trustworthy, and that decision often comes down to a matter of instinct and observation. Speaking of which …
9. Get your nose out of your phone!
Situational awareness is a great defense, but especially if you’re out alone and heading home alone. It’s super important to pay more attention to your surroundings than your Instagram feed. It’s important to have a certain amount of vigilance mixed in with your neighbourliness.
10. Psychology is half the battle
Even if you are a black belt, your individual mindset is an essential defense in solo security. After all, when you’re living alone, you’re your own best defense.