Home Safety Tips for People Who Live AloneFeb 5, 2019
Don't sacrifice safety because you live alone. Whether you are living alone in an apartment or a home, you can keep yourself and your property protected. Regardless of if you think you live in a low-crime area, it won't feel like it if your home gets broken into. Become more aware of the possible risks your home has and use a combination of a home security system with safety tips to make your home as safe as it possibly can be.
Safety Tips for Living Alone
In 2015, Utah had 12,468 burglaries, which breaks down to 416.2 incidents per 100,000 citizens. Despite the overall decrease in property crimes nationwide from 2011 to 2015, you're still at risk for a break in. Sometimes you cannot avoid a burglary, but there are some things you can do to discourage criminals from invading your home and keep your home safer. Start with a home security system and supplement it with behaviors and strategies to improve the security of your home.
Give the Impression of a Busy Home
Even if you live alone, don't let others know it. Start as soon as you move in. Put your last name on the mailbox or buzzer with "household" after your name. Someone looking at the mailboxes who sees "The Smith Household" will think a family lives at that residence rather than a single person, which indicates someone will likely be present at any time of the day. If a burglar thinks your house is occupied, you'll be less likely to experience a break-in.
To further your impression of having multiple people in your home, set out several sets of work boots on your front step. Change the types of shoes and locations periodically. Keeping boots on your front step makes it appear that someone else lives in your home. Also, if you have a driveway, allow your neighbors to park there occasionally. With two cars in the driveway, it looks like more people live in your home.
Have frequent get-togethers at your home. Host dinners for your friends. Invite your neighbors and family over for parties. With numerous people entering your home, burglars will think twice before making your home a target.
Use home automation systems to turn on the lights at night even if you're not at home. You can also turn on your television or other electronics. Randomly turning on these devices will give those outside the impression that your house is occupied, even if you're working late.
If you are away from your home, do not post about it on social media until after you return. Yes, this means you should not tweet about your beach vacation while you're away. Give yourself a break from media and post your stories and pictures when you get home. It will protect your home from criminals who often trawl social media to find people who are away. The same goes for sharing your location on social media and pictures of expensive possessions you have. An estimated 75 percent of burglars think other criminals use social media posts to find their targets.
Ask a neighbor to gather your packages, mail and newspapers from your home while you're gone to keep these from accumulating and advertising your absence, too.
Secure Your Home
Home security is more than just tricks to fool burglars. You will want to keep your home monitored for break-ins while protecting it from people breeching your domain. When you first move into your home, change your locks and install deadbolts, which are stronger than standard bolts. Doing so prevents former owners from using their keys to get inside your house. If you rent, discuss installing new locks with your landlord before changing the locks. Also, give him a copy of the key. Always lock your doors. It does not matter if you're home or away, your doors must stay locked to protect your home.
Windows also present a vulnerable point in your home's security. Check that all your windows can lock and keep them locked unless you have them open while you are at home. If any of your windows have air conditioning units, consider installing a brace or cage to keep the unit from getting pulled out, allowing a burglar entry. For sliding glass doors, place a sturdy wooden dowel in the track to keep it from being opened. Keep this door locked, too.
Never store a spare key on your property — if you can find it, so can a burglar. Instead, give a trusted neighbor the extra key to your home if you must have a spare. Also, never indicate where you live on your keychain. If you lose your keys, a criminal now knows where you live and has the means to enter.
A dog is another way to secure your home, as the loud barking acts like an alarm system would. However, a dog cannot contact the police like your security system does. Most burglars refuse to risk going into homes with dogs. If you cannot have a pet or don't want a dog, hang some "Beware of the Dog" signs around your property to give the impression of a dog nearby. Don't rely solely on a pet, though, to warn you of criminals. A security system is more reliable and operates 24/7, whether you're home or not.
The best way to protect your house is to install a home security system. When you do, advertise that you have an alarm in place. The majority of burglars, nine out of 10, report actively avoiding homes with an alarm system. Having visible signs of a security system such as cameras and sirens can deter criminals from entering your home.
Living alone does not mean being alone all the time. You will need to create alliances with your neighbors to make yourself safer. Go out and meet your neighbors. If those around you know who you are and what you look like, they will be more alert to strangers on your property. You can also keep an eye on their homes, as well.
If your neighborhood doesn't have a watch program, consider instituting one. It requires a volunteer to monitor the neighborhood during the day to prevent crime and cooperation of the local law enforcement. Volunteers only report to authorities about suspicious activities — citizens should never engage suspicious persons in their neighborhood.
A neighborhood watch program has been proven to be an effective way to cut crime in your area. In a meta-analysis of 18 neighborhoods that implemented these programs, the results showed a 16 percent drop in crime in areas that had watches compared to those that did not.
Plan for Emergencies
Living alone means you need to rely on yourself if an emergency occurs. You'll need to prepare yourself mentally and physically for what to do if someone breaks in or a fire happens. While it's unlikely you will ever need to use these escape strategies, if you do have to implement them, they could save your life.
In case of a fire, know your exits. Don't install burglar bars on your windows, as they make it more difficult to escape from a window. An average of 25 people each year die from being trapped by burglar bars inside a burning building — don't risk your life. A security system is a better method of protecting your home. Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen rated for kitchen fires. If the flames are small, put them out with an extinguisher, but leave and call the fire department if the fire extends beyond one appliance, such as your stove.
While most burglars avoid breaking in when someone is home, if your home is invaded, get out. Don't try to confront the burglar, because he may be armed. Leave your home from the opposite side the burglar broke in and go to a neighbor's house to call the police. Keep pepper spray in your bedroom in case you're trapped in your room by a criminal and need a means of non-lethal defense.
In an emergency, have a list of people to contact to let them know you're out of danger. This list will be useful in the event of a natural disaster when standard methods of communication get disrupted.
Though you may never need your emergency plan, having one in place will make it easier to respond to an event if it ever occurs. Like school fire drills, you need to practice your escape plans occasionally. You will want the escape to feel so natural you can do it even if you've just been woken up from sleep — an emergency can occur at any time of day or night.
About Home Security Systems
Home security systems monitor your home's entry points and send an alert to the monitoring company. Some systems even monitor carbon monoxide and smoke in the house, as well. Many residential alarm systems are available. If you're not sure about the right alarm for your home, talk to your security system company and inform them of what you want from the system. Here are five general options you'll have.
1. Burglar Alarms
One of the most well-known types of alarms is burglar alarms. These create noise and send a signal to the monitoring company if an unauthorized person tries to enter your home. Only you or another trusted person will be able to shut off the alarm, and burglars won't be able to come inside.
If someone without your access code tries to enter your home, he will be met with an ear-piercing alarm that distracts the intruder and alerts your neighbors. An extra signal silently travels to the monitoring system, which informs the police of a break-in.
2. Intrusion and Motion Sensors
Motion sensors trigger the alarm when something moves around your home. Motion sensors inside may not be the best option if you have pets, but you can also install them outside the house to watch for human-sized trespassers. Many people in Utah have large properties. If you cannot see your entire property from your door, you may need some extra help in monitoring the area for intruders. Intrusion alarms will let you know if someone trespasses, so you never have to be unaware of someone approaching your home again.
3. Video Monitoring and Surveillance
With video records of those coming near your home, you'll have proof to turn over to the authorities if something happens, increasing the chances the perpetrator will be caught. With cloud recording, no matter where you are, you can log in to check on your home through the cameras. You will increase your home's safety while also giving yourself peace of mind by being able to see your home when you're away.
4. Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detection
Your home's safety is more than just keeping it protected from intruders. You want to maintain constant alert for fire and carbon monoxide levels, both of which can be deadly. A home security alarm can have smoke and carbon monoxide detection integrated into it for an added layer of safety, whether you're home or not.
Carbon monoxide can kill. If you don't have monitors, you may not know you have a leak in your home until it's too late. You can't see or smell carbon monoxide. Constant monitoring for excessive carbon monoxide levels and smoke from a fire both will increase the chances of your survival in the event of a problem. These monitors will sound an alarm when levels of either carbon monoxide or smoke get too high. The alarm will wake you even from the deepest sleep. Contrary to popular belief, you probably won't wake up if your home is on fire. A smoke alarm, like a carbon monoxide detector, can save your life.
5. Smart Systems
Smart alarm systems upload information to the internet where only you can access it. No matter where you are, smart technology lets you view your home. With an integrated house, you also have automation and remote control of your home right from your phone or computer.
Installing lights that turn on and off at random times is one way to fool criminals into thinking someone is home when you're away. You can achieve this through home automation. In fact, a smart home will even allow you to control your home's thermostat to cool it off inside before you get home from work in the summer. You can also turn on the heater on your way home, so you will always return to a warm house.
Automation is the future of home security systems. You can bring your home a new level of safety and efficiency whatever your budget. We will help you get the automated system you need for the amount you have to spend.
Contact Certified Fire And Security for the Best Home Security System
Don't go another day without ensuring the safety of your home or apartment. Invest in a home security system to keep yourself and your property protected. At Certified Fire And Security, we professionally install the best home security systems based on our customers' needs. If you have a smart home, we can integrate your alarm system into your smart home features for remote access.
Though most of the homes we help protect are in Salt Lake City and St. George, we serve the entire state of Utah. Give us a call today at (435) 674-5700 or contact us online to learn more about our range of home security systems and how we can help you keep your property safe.