It is easy to understand why many people opt in to living alone. It gives you the freedom to live life on your own terms and have a small section of the world carved out just for you. It means coming home whenever you want and never having to share the television remote with anyone. Seriously, there is a lot for non-solos to envy for sure. But living alone also comes with some safety risks, and giving them some serious consideration can keep you safe.
There is no need to give up freedom when you implement these smart, but easy safety tools and practices for living alone.
Most people think they are already pretty careful about not telling too much, but the chances are good that a great deal more information escapes than we realize. Go the extra mile and really scrutinize every detail. Change the often forgotten but tell-tale signs of living alone, such as one name on the mail box or apartment roster, or a telephone answering message that uses singular pronouns like “Leave a message and I will call right back!”.
Be Extra Cautious on Social Media
Okay, this may fall victim to semantic satiation, the phenomenon where you hear something so often that your mind stops hearing it, but it does deserve repeating. It is very easy to get casual and careless when using social media. No matter how “private” your settings, always act as if you are talking to your 300 close friends and 3 million strangers. Before you post, ask yourself if the post or picture shows that you live alone or tell what time you will be home or away? Avoid comments like “Super long workday tomorrow, 8-11! Ugh!” which tell people far too much information that can jeopardize your safety.
Develop safety plans for various safety events. Have escape routes planned for every room of your home in the event of a fire or other emergency. Know how to turn off the gas and have a tool kit handy at strategic locations. Set up emergency codes with family and friends and have one emergency contact saved as “Pizza” on your phone to add opportunity in extreme safety events.
Get to Know Your Neighbors
Get to know your neighbors well and, when possible and with caution, share enough information that they are able to recognize trouble and act on it.
Set the Stage with Home Automation and Other Sneaky Tricks
Nobody needs to know that you live alone—ever—if you set the stage. Do simple things like leaving muddy work boots, or several different kinds and sizes of shoes by the front door. Keep the home looking constantly occupied by using home automation to turn off and on light and entertainment at various times throughout the day.
Opt in to a Home Security System
One of the best reasons to opt into a monitored security system if you live alone is that it can detect trouble and have help deployed far more quickly than you can. In an emergency, it takes time to process the threat and then act on it, if acting on it is even possible. With monitored security, help is on the way almost immediately and that saved time can be all the difference.
In the United States, living alone is common with 28% of households having just one person. As common as it is, it always helps to exercise as much caution as possible.