1. Get a Dog or Cat – Having a pet can ease the stress of living alone, as well as provide a layer of security. Intruders hate dealing with pets—especially dogs—so a noisy pet can be a great asset. Plus, you’ll always have a good listener when you get home from work.
2. Know Your Neighbors – Your neighbors don’t have to be your best friends, but it’s a good idea to reach out to them. Not only can they lend you a cup of sugar in a pinch, but they can also help you out in case of an emergency. If a neighbor hears you calling for help or if they hear a suspicious noise, they’re more likely to check on you if you have a rapport with them. So, head on over with a plate of cookies and introduce yourself.
3. Fake It – Just looking like you live with other people can make you less of a target to intruders. Consider putting another name on your mailbox. Leave the TV or lights on when you’re not home. Put multiple pairs of shoes on your porch. If you hear something suspicious outside, pretend to yell to someone in the other room, and when the doorbell unexpectedly rings, yell “I’ll get it!” It may feel silly, but it also could deter potential intruders.
4. Check in with a Safety Buddy – Call or text someone at a certain time every day. Set it up so that if your safety buddy doesn’t hear from you by a certain time, they reach out and check on you. Or, set up a private Twitter feed that only friends and family can see, and update it with your whereabouts.
5. Install Motion Sensor Outdoor Lights – Make it difficult for weirdos to lurk around your residence at night. Install motion sensor outdoor lights that come on when they sense someone approaching. If anyone nears your doors or windows, the lights will come on and encourage the intruder to scram.
6. Invite People Over When Expecting Strangers – Whether you need to have your plumbing fixed or you’re selling something online, it’s inevitable that you’ll have to invite strangers into your home at one point or another. When you do so, try to have a friend over at the same time, so you don’t have the appearance of living alone.
7. Guard Your Keys – Treat your keys like solid gold, and be stingy with them. Hiding keys under your doormat, in a flowerpot, or in a fake rock doesn’t work anymore—those are the first places intruders check. Be reluctant to make keys for others, and only give them to one or two close friends or family members. Don’t ever put your full name, address, or other personal information on your house keys and fobs.