Moving out on your own is a big step. Leaving the comfort of a shared apartment, college dorm, or parent's house to live in an apartment all alone can be as scary as it is exhilarating. Along with all the independence that comes from renting (or buying) solo comes the full responsibility of watching out for your own safety — no roomies or mom to make sure you're home OK or lock the door behind you!
To learn how to stay safe when striking out on your own, we spoke with expert David Laubner of Blink Home Security. Check out his pro tips below — they might just save your life.
Change the locks as soon as you move in.
"Ensuring you know who has access to copies of your keys should be the first question to the landlord," David says. He warns that not all landlords do their due diligence to update the locks when a tenant moves out, so it's a smart idea to change them yourself upon moving in.
Make friends with your neighbors.
"People are 77 percent more likely to help a neighbor they know. It also allows your neighbors to be aware of what you look like so if they see someone knocking or going into your apartment that isn't you, they will know when to help or be more attentive."
Install an entrance door security camera.
David says it's essential to have some form of security in an apartment while you're not there monitoring your front door. "Having a security camera will give you that peace of mind. They don't have to be expensive, either; our indoor cameras start at just $99."
Use window stoppers.
"Windows are great to get fresh air, but they are one of the easiest access points in an apartment," David warns. "By simply putting a wooden pole in between where the two windows meet, you can block access for burglars." He also advises adding extra protection to any windows that could be accessed by climbing a tree. A simple window alarm is a good place to start.
View the room as if you are looking in from the street.
"Make sure to evaluate the rooms of the apartment as if you are looking through the window because burglars or thieves have the ability to look before entering," David says. To keep them from getting a good look at your apartment from the outside, he advises drawing the shades before leaving when possible or, for a more permanent solution, coating on the window so no one can peek in.
Get a door peep hole.
"One of the most common areas burglars and thieves enter is through is still the front door," says David. "They tend to knock first to ensure no one is home, so be sure you have something to prepare for any intruders who come to the door. It also allows you be better informed for anyone knocking at your door."
Download a personal security app.
David's final tip for solo dwellers: get a personal security app. "Whether you're headed out to meet girlfriends or simply walking from your apartment to your car, downloading a personal security app, such as bSafe, is a smart move for any woman who lives alone. This allows you to invite your friends to virtually walk you home and will even notify them when you've arrived at your destination."