For many of us, living alone is the most fun, liberating and peaceful arrangement of all. At the same time, some pitfalls come with setting out on your own. Namely, your safety and security. At the end of the day, it’s just you, alone inside your home or apartment. This can be a bit of a scary proposition, but there are plenty of things you can do right now to make your place more secure. Today, your #1 favourite Toronto locksmith company, is going to give you some essential living alone tips on things you should be doing right now if you live by yourself.
Living Alone is More Popular Than Ever
Since the middle of the 20th century, there has been a steady rise in the number of one person homes here in Canada. This trend is particularly noticeable throughout southern Canada, and it’s most prevalent in areas like Quebec, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan.
This is due to many social and economic reasons, such as higher economic mobility, changing gender roles and an increase in feelings of individualism.
Today, living alone is the most popular living arrangement of all, with nearly 30% of all Canadians flying solo.
For most Canadians, this is a conscious choice that’s being made, and in most cases, we’re happy to live alone. But, living alone does leave us vulnerable to certain threats to our safety and security. In 2016, there were over 159,119 instances of breaking and entering throughout Canada. While there’s little you can do to prevent a burglary, there are some things you can do to discourage one in your home.
Home Security Tips for Singles Living Alone
Here are some things you, as singles living alone, can do right now to make your home safer and more secure so you can have peace of mind at night.
First, we’re going to look at some valuable tips that will improve the security of your home’s doors, locks, and windows. These tips will make it much more difficult for a would-be burglar to get into your home.
Start with Your Locks
The locks on your doors act as the first line of security in your home. But for some reason, we seem to overlook their importance, especially when moving to a new location. If you’ve just moved into a new home or apartment, changing your locks, or having the existing locks rekeyed should be your priority.
The fewer people with access to your home, the better. We’re sure the folks who lived there before you did are great but do you want them having keys to your home? Worse yet, what if their keys managed to fall into the wrong hands?
Changing your locks or having them rekeyed is an easy and fairly affordable way to beef up the first line of security in your home and any quality locksmith can take care of this job, often in an hour or less.
As with most other things, you get what you pay for when it comes to locks. Quality locks usually start at around $75 and get more expensive from there. So, replacing all the locks in your home with high-security locks can be a pretty hefty expenditure. You may instead want to consider having the lock cores replaced with better versions. That way, you can leave the hardware itself, but you’ll have higher quality mechanisms inside.
Reinforce Patio Doors
Sliding glass doors make an easy target for criminals. There are several aspects of their design that make them vulnerable, and there are some simple things you can do today to improve their level of security.
First, make sure that your doors are installed properly, with the locks facing into the home. You’d be surprised how many patio doors have installation issues which make it easy for criminals to slip them right off their track in a matter of seconds. In fact, some are even installed backwards, so that the lock for the door faces the outside of the house instead of the inside.
Consider purchasing a door jam or making one yourself. These products are relatively affordable and can be put on and taken off the door with ease. Most importantly, they add another layer of security to sliding glass doors and make it much harder for criminals to breach the door.
Install Motion Detectors
One thing all criminals have in common is that they hate to be seen. One thing you can do to deter would-be robbers is to install motion detector lights throughout the perimeter of your home. In many cases, robberies have been stopped before they even had a chance to get started because of robust exterior lighting.
Not only are these lights a great way to deter robbers, but it will make it easier for you to make your way inside safely when coming home late at night. After all, finding your keys and making it up the path to your front door is much easier to do when you can see where you’re going.
Consider a Security Door
Sure, they may not be the most attractive door you can install in your home, but they serve an important purpose, especially for single occupant households. Essentially, a security door acts as a door to your door.
They’re typically made from heavy metal, like iron. Behind the metal frame is a thick metal screen that works to obscure the person inside, while making the person outside visible. These doors also come with a variety of deadbolt options, which add another level of security.
Plus, these doors tend to be exceptionally loud when they’re kicked, which deters brute force attacks from would-be burglars. Since this is such a visually apparent security measure, a burglar may think twice at attempting a break in after seeing your home outfitted with one of these security doors.
Keep in mind that these types of security measures may be at odds with your rental agreement if you’re leasing your property. So, you’ll want to check with your landlord or consult your agreement before you look into a measure like this.
Strengthen Points of Weakness
You could spend thousands of dollars on the high-end windows and doors to protect the different entry points to your home. But, there are always going to be weak points that can be exploited by criminals.
With doors, the hardware, as well as each side of the door jamb are the most vulnerable to attack. Fortunately, there’s a broad range of products designed to upgrade the security of these areas and provide additional protection for your doors. Many of these upgrades are cheap, too. There are also many DIY options if you’re handy.
The same things hold true for windows. However, even the strongest of windows has a very obvious point of weakness: the glass. Fortunately, there are even steps you can take to reinforce that, as well. Several companies make security films for glass. These films serve a variety of purposes. Above all, they make it more difficult for the glass to shatter, which in turn, makes it more difficult for a burglar to enter your home through a broken window.
Of course, these films won’t prevent glass from breaking altogether. But, they do make it more difficult and time-consuming to break the glass which will give you more time to react to the situation and alert the authorities.
In addition to the points above which deal with the physical security of your home, there are some different things you can do to keep yourself safe, even in the face of danger, when living alone.
Do Your Research
If you haven’t moved yet, it’s a good idea to take a closer look at the neighbourhood you’re looking to move into. If possible, speak with residents in the area. They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and that’s certainly true in this case. By moving into the safest neighbourhood possible, you can reduce your risk of experiencing a break in.
Adopt a Dog
There’s never a wrong time to bring home a furry friend, especially when they can keep you safe. If you’re able to keep a dog where you live, they can be an excellent source of companionship when living alone, and in this case, they act as a deterrent to crime. As a general rule, the bigger the dog, the less likely the home is to be broken into. But, even the tiniest pup can help deter criminals.
When it comes to dogs, don’t be afraid to tell a little white lie, either. Sure, there may be a chihuahua inside your house, but that doesn’t mean you can’t invest in a ‘Beware of Dog’ sign with a menacing Rottweiler on the front of it.
Make Friends with The Neighbors
Okay, maybe not like, friend friends, but you get the idea. Be sure that you’re on a first name basis with your neighbours, at the very least. It can also be helpful to have their contact information handy, should a situation such as a home invasion ever arise. That way, you’ll have an ally close by that you can rely on in an emergency.
Don’t Make Your Living Arrangement Public Knowledge
The fewer people know that you live alone, the better. Burglars are more likely to target people in single person households for obvious reasons. There are fewer variables that can go wrong for them in that scenario. So, do what you can to make it look like you aren’t alone.
If your name is on your mailbox, consider changing it so that it looks like there are multiple people in the household. This can be as simple as replacing ‘Jane Doe’ with ‘The Doe Family.'
It’s not uncommon for there to be a pair of shoes or work boots left out on the front porch in some residences. You may even want to consider adding a second or third pair of shoes (of different sizes) out front so that it looks like there’s a family that lives there instead of a single person.
These types of things obviously can’t deter a burglary from occurring, but if even one burglar things twice before breaking in because of how you’ve presented your living arrangement, it’s worth the effort.
Have a Plan
In the event of a break in, common sense often gives way to instinct. With your adrenaline flowing, it’s easy to make rash decisions that are going to put you in danger. But, if you have a plan in place for what you’ll do in the event of an emergency, like a home invasion, you’ll be able to react more calmly in the face of adversity.
Bring the Noise
One of the best deterrents to a would-be robber is noise. You may want to consider landscaping your home in a way that creates noise when someone approaches your home. An example of this would be a gravel driveway and walkway, so you can hear someone approach when they walk on it.
Should a burglar make it into your home, or if you fear for your safety for some other reason, having a whistle handy can be quite useful. Any whistle will do, but you may want to consider picking up a military or rescue whistle because they’re exceptionally loud.
The panic button on your car alarm can also come in handy in this instance. If you’re in trouble, you may be able to alert your neighbours by hitting your panic button.
Keep Your Online Life Private
These days, social media and connected apps are everywhere, constantly asking us to “check in” or share our location in other ways.
While we all want to stay as connected as possible to our friends and family, it’s important to use your best judgment when it comes to your online interactions. Avoid sharing your location when you’re asked to do so. Also, limit the amount of information you’re providing about your location and lifestyle on sites like Facebook. You’d be shocked at the amount of information you’re able to find out about a person with a simple Facebook search.
Putting the Living Alone Tips All Together to Keep Yourself Safe
Even the safest of environments are still vulnerable to criminals and predators. When it comes to your safety and security, the goal is to limit your risk and vulnerability.
You should also understand that there is a slim chance you’ll ever need to put any of these tips into action. While crime occurs everywhere, in every country, instances of burglary in Canada have fallen sharply over the past decade or so.
So, live your life and enjoy yourself while living alone without fear of someone breaking into your home. Just make sure you’re as prepared as possible in the unlikely event that your home is ever burglarized.