If your strategy for staying safe while home alone is to turn on the TV extra loud at night, you may want to check out this recent article from Zillow Porchlight. As the number of Americans who live alone is on the rise, Emily Bell offers expert tips for staying safe and secure at home.
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,” says Brown. “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,” notes Brown.
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.)
Go get gadgets!
Motion sensors and timers are cheap ways to create the illusion of more occupants, but there are other gadgets you might not have heard of.
David Nance, a personal safety expert and CEO of SABRE, recommends something like a TV light simulator. “This is a little device about the size of a coffee cup, using the same amount of energy as a nightlight, that mimics screen and light changes produced by a real HDTV.”
Meaning if you’re upstairs taking a shower, you can create the illusion that someone else is downstairs watching TV.
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,” says “Security Sensei” Jordan Frankel of GlobalSecurityExperts. 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,” says Brown.
Another nod to the power of the pooch: “Even having a dog with you can decrease the likelihood that you become a target,” she adds.
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,’” says veteran security expert Chris McGoey, aka “Crime Doctor.”
“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,” McGoey advises.
Hound the landlord once you move in, and make sure those locks are new.
Read the full article: 12 Security Tips for Living Alone Safely – Zillow Porchlight