If you live alone, you're in good company.
One out of every seven, or 31 million, Americans live alone. On average, 28% of households include just one individual, and some cities (like Cleveland) ranked upward of 40%.
Reasons for living alone vary, as do the demographics. However, the largest population of single home dwellers—15 million—is between the ages of 35 and 64.
Studies suggest that these singles, regardless of age, are more social than their married counterparts. With greater free time on their hands and less obligations, you'll often find them out with friends, attending local events, dining at restaurants and traveling.
With greater freedom and solitude, however, come unique security risks. If you're one of these singletons, check out the three tips below to protect yourself when you're home, and protect your belongings when you're away.
1. Invest in Technology to Keep You Safe
Install a home security system to alert you and authorities of suspicious or threatening activity, whether you're home or away. Rest assured that both you and your belongings are safe with 24/7 monitoring and remote management capabilities. Don't forget to arm your system and always lock your doors (including when your home)! This is one of the best ways to deter intruders.
For an added level of protection, invest also in a personal emergency response system (PERS). In case of a medical emergency, this device, which is worn on your wrist, neck or keychain, lets you quickly contact help at the push of a button. It's especially recommended for the elderly and those with existing medical conditions.
2. Use the Buddy System
Without a parent or spouse regularly checking in on your whereabouts, it takes longer for someone to realize something is amiss. Buddy up with a friend or family member, perhaps someone else that lives alone, and commit to regular touch points. Keep them informed of where you're going and when you should be home, and alert them when you're safely settled in at home.
3. Don't Promote That You're Alone
Don't advertise that you live alone, especially when dealing with strangers. Specific tips include:
- Use your last name and first initial in phonebook listings and on your mailbox.
- Avoid using "I" in your answering machine message. Zoomer.com recommends, "No one can come to the phone right now," leaving your living status ambiguous.
- Be careful what you say on social media. Don't advertise vacations, weekends away or nights out, as this screams "vacant house" to followers.
- Invite a friend in which a stranger would be entering your home. over if you expect deliveries, service calls, repair work, etc.,