Many women live alone these days, in apartments, condos, and their own homes. We have as much right to live as we want as any man. We shouldn’t have to live differently or take special precautions, but unfortunately we should. Self-defense for women living alone is a set of habits that can help keep us safe by creating the illusion that we don’t live alone and avoidance tactics that make us difficult targets.

If you move into an apartment building, do not take an apartment on the lower level or on the ground floor. These floors offer the greatest opportunity for window break-ins. Similarly, if you live in a house, make sure lower story windows are secure (locked from the inside with shades drawn) and free of external visual obstructions, such as bushes and other landscaping material, so you can see easily. from the street and neighbors.

Speaking of neighbors, get to know yours. You don’t need to make them your best friends. You just need to familiarize yourself with them. Everyone could take care of each other. They could also provide you with a safe haven if you were in a situation where you did not feel your own home was unsafe (someone was in your home) or suspected that someone was or had been.

When identifying your mailbox, doorbell or door, use only your last name and first initial, not Miss, Mrs. o Mrs. Have a peephole on your front door and do not open it unless you can identify the visitor. Never let unknown people pass that you are alone. You might want to yell, “I’ll get it!” after checking the peephole and before opening the door. If a service person knocks on the door unexpectedly, show your ID and call the company to make sure it’s a legitimate service call.

If you have an answering machine on your landline, don’t include your name, just your number if you feel it’s necessary. Don’t say you’re not home, just that “we” can’t answer the phone right now. I’ve seen the suggestion that a male friend or relative record the message, although that can also deter potential dates. If you don’t have it, get caller ID.

Lock exterior doors; this should be an easy habit to learn. Let’s not make it easy for these criminals! If you live in an apartment building, always lock the exterior door, doors to common areas, and of course, the door to your residence. Chain locks, while giving a feeling of security, are actually easy to break with a shoulder or kick. Deadbolts are great as long as they are properly installed and locked. For added security, a deadbolt can be installed on the back (inside) of a door. It can only be locked from the inside and cannot be opened. For more information, visit Women’s Self Defense/Home Security.

This brings us to the keys. Do not mark your keys with any identification. Have separate key fobs for your cars and your house. Do not leave the garage door opener in your car in case it is stolen. Don’t leave a spare set of keys in the usual places that can be a no-brainer for criminals. Always have your keys handy when you approach your car or home. Have in your hands the one you need ready to use.

As always, self defense for women is a lot of common sense techniques practiced faithfully until they become second nature. For more information, visit personal security.

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