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Living Alone? Here Are Our Top Safety Tips

The thought of living along can be both exciting and scary. On one hand, you can keep your home as clean or messy as you want, listen to music at maximum volume, sit in silence, or parade around the house in whatever clothes you please. Living alone allows complete control over your space and how you use it.

On the flip side, it also means you have to take your personal safety into greater consideration. Though living alone can sound dangerous, if you follow these simple precautions, you’ll get to enjoy your newfound independence with peace of mind.

Connecting with Others so It’s Not Obvious You Live Alone

A large part of feeling safe when living alone is creating the appearance that you’re not alone.

One easy way to do this is by setting automatic timers on your lights. Most burglaries happen during the day when people are at work. By putting your lights on a timer, it will appear that someone is home even during the day. Motion sensored flood lights are also great to install. They’ll deter potential burglars, while making you aware of any activity outside your home.

It’s important to know your neighbors, especially when living alone. Make it an initiative to meet as many neighbors as possible. At the very least, get familiar with those living directly across from you and on either side of your home. Exchange numbers with your neighbors so you can keep each other informed.

In addition to knowing your neighbors, it’s helpful to have friends over frequently. Burglars and other threats are less likely to target a busy home. If you’re ever having maintenance work done, invite some friends over while the workers are present. Not only will this keep you safe, but socializing with others is an important part of mental health when you first move into your own place.

Best Practices for Home Safety

It may sound like an obvious statement, but don’t forget to lock your doors every time you leave the house – whether you’re gone for a few minutes or a few hours. When you’re inside your home, be sure to use the deadbolt to lock your doors. And, unless you’re trying to let in some fresh air, keep your windows closed and locked. You may also consider rekeying your locks, or installing an electronic lock for additional security.

Be sure to close your blinds and curtains, especially at night. This is an easy way for people to peer into your home. Along with closing the blinds, avoid keeping valuable items within sight.

Don’t neglect your peephole. Blindly opening the door to anyone that knocks can be dangerous for anyone, let alone someone who lives by themselves. Take it one step further by investing in a doorbell camera. This way, you can see what’s going on at your front step whether you’re home or not.

Store your neighbors contacts, on-site security, and any other trusted phone numbers in your favorites. You’ll be able to access emergency numbers (in addition to 911) quickly in a threatening situation. You may also consider sharing your location with those you trust. 

Stay aware both inside and outside of your home. Avoid staring down at your phone or wearing headphones with loud music. Communicate with neighbors and stay on the lookout when you see signs of suspicious activity.

If you don’t already have a security system, you should install one as soon as possible. Even a doorbell camera, as mentioned earlier, will allow you to stay up to date when you’re away from home.

For a living security system, consider getting a guard dog. Not only will a furry companion ward off intruders, they’ll keep you company in your new home. Having a pet provides the comfort of a roommate, without the drawbacks of having to compromise with one.

Living alone might sound scary, but all it takes is a few simple steps to keep you safe. Remember to connect with others, lock the doors and windows, and to stay aware of your surroundings. We hope these tips will give you the peace of mind to enjoy your home.

Looking to install a security system, rekey locks, or duplicate a house key? Your local Pop-A-Lock is here to help!

Will a Deadbolt Keep You Safe? What You Need to Know About Break-Ins

The doors to your home are the first line of defense when it comes to burglaries and break-ins. If you don’t have effective locks on your door, you’re skipping on a big part of your home’s security checklist. A deadbolt is the best way to keep your home secure and prevent thieves from knocking down your door.

Burglaries of residential properties account for 62.8 percent of all burglary offenses. It might sound silly to mention locking your door as a critical safety tip, but 34 percent of those burglars enter homes through the front door. If the door is unlocked, they can just turn the handle and walk right in! By keeping your door locked, you’re already one step ahead. Having a deadbolt on the entrance to your home will take a standard door knob lock to the next level. Forced entry is involved in 55.7 percent of burglaries, and a deadbolt will make breaking down a door remarkably more challenging.

What is a Deadbolt and How Does it Work?

A deadbolt is a lock used in addition to your regular door knob that is moved by turning a key or thumb without the use of a spring. They’re heavier and more secure than spring bolts, which work by compressing when the key is in the cylinder to unlock the door. Once the door is closed, the spring automatically jumps back. A deadbolt is manually locked when you are inside your home, unless it is a double-cylinder lock.

Deadbolts are made of three main parts: the cylinder, the throw or bolt, and the thumb. The throw is the part that slides in and out of the door jam and can be locked from the inside by turning the thumb.

Most residential deadbolt locks are single cylinders. This means the door can only be locked from within the house. A double cylinder deadbolt has key access on the outside, making it available to lock from either side of the door. Though the double-cylinder deadbolt is technically more secure, single-cylinder deadbolts are the better option for most homeowners. This is because when the double-cylinder deadbolt is locked, a key would be required to exit, which becomes a safety hazard in the event of a fire.

Where Should You Have Deadbolts?

Ideally, you should have a deadbolt on every entrance to your home –  the front door, the back door, and the door to the garage. Unfortunately, having a deadbolt on the door that leads to your garage is often neglected. The garage door is a vulnerable part of your home security system. They can be easily kicked in, and sometimes even lifted manually. If your car is parked in the driveway, avoid keeping your garage clicker in plain sight. However, if a burglar does get a hold of your garage door key, having a deadbolt on the door from the garage to your house will prevent any further danger.

Will a Deadbolt Keep You Safe?

Locksmiths say a quality deadbolt is the best resistance to a home burglary. But is this enough to keep you safe? Research says that when forceable entry is used, burglars prefer kicking down a door over breaking a window. The noise of glass breaking draws more attention and poses a threat to the burglar. This is a good thing – it means you can focus more on the security of your doors than windows, which means a deadbolt will be significantly helpful.

However, since the possibility of breaking down a front door still exists, some additional safety measures that work well in tandem with a deadbolt are having a strong door and secure door frame. Solid wood and steel-clad doors are much better at resisting a break-in. If your door is made from hollow wood, it may not stand a chance against threats.

Though having a strong door is important, it’s typically the door frame that caves in, not the door itself. Strike plates should be reinforced by 3-inch sturdy screws, and secured to the frame of the house. Also, be sure that your door fits snug within the door frame and consider installing weatherstrips if there are any gaps.

By pairing a quality deadbolt with a strong door and secure door frame, you’ll be in good shape for resisting break-ins. A deadbolt makes residential break-ins much more difficult, and will deter away burglars. A single-cylinder deadbolt is best for homeowners and can help you feel safer in your home. And be sure to give your local Pop-A-Lock a call for any and all deadbolt and locksmithing needs!