Self Defense Tips for Women Living Alone

Lady Justice Behind a Cage

After looking at the rate of victimizations that strike the nation year after year, it quickly becomes evident that women are the most targeted by violent and property criminals. 

In 2015 alone, close to 6.7 million women have fallen subject to violent crimes and 2.6 million to "serious" violent crimes. These numbers are based on the Bureau of Justice Statistics' 2015 National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) which reported women as being the most targeted demographic by violent and "serious" violent crimes.

As defined by the NCVS, a violent crime encompasses simple assaults, aggravated assaults, robberies, sexual assaults, or rapes. Serious violent crimes, on the other hand, are defined as the same only they don't include simple assaults.

How Frequently Are Women Living Alone Attacked?

There is no simple answer to this question except for the related data we could obtain on women within certain age groups and marital situations who have fallen victim to violent crimes.

Take a look at the table below for a brief rundown on the two sub-classes of violent crimes perpetrated against women (per 1,000 persons) in 2015:

  Violent Crimes Serious Violent Crimes
Total 18.6 6.8


15.9 5.4


21.1 8.1

The following table details violent crime rates performed against women of different age groups. If you turn your attention to the rate of serious violent crimes committed against women from ages 18-24 and 25-34, you'll find a greater number of serious violent crimes attributed to them.

  Violent Crimes Serious Violent Crimes
Age Groups    


31.3 7.8


25.1 10.7


21.8 9.3


22.6 7.8


14.2 5.7


5.2 1.5

The same study also found that women who have never been married or are divorced or separated are the most targeted by both types of violent crimes. Women who are on their own stand a greater chance of being subjected to simple assaults, aggravated assaults, robberies, sexual assaults, or rapes than the rest of the female population.

  Violent Crimes Serious Violent Crimes
Marital Status    

Never Married

26.2 9.4


9.9 3.5


8.5 2.9


35.3 13.0


39.5 20.6

What Can I Do to Protect Myself?

With that being said, it is absolutely paramount to take steps in securing your home and your person with these simple tricks, devices, gadgets, and items. We're going to start with the outside perimeter of your home structure and work our way to the inside in a concentric manner.

1. Secure Your Home's Outside Perimeter

Security Dog

Having a big security dog like a German Shepherd, Bullmastiff, or Doberman Pinscher greatly enhances your chance of survival should the worst come true. The point of a security dog, however, is not to only put up a fight against a home invader, but also to place fear in a would-be burglar who's driving by, scouting for an easy score.

Driveway Alarm
Driveway Gate with an Alarm Hidden from Plain Sight

A driveway alarm works by having an electromagnetic sensor implanted in the ground that transmits a signal to the indoor receiver, chiming you of a visitor or trespasser. For different brands, the distance between the driveway sensor and indoor receiver can be up to 400 feet or more, and they don't confuse people, pets, or the wind with cars. Once the sensor detects metal of a lot of mass approaching within 3-12 feet, it chimes you on the other end.

Check out the Mighty Mule Wireless Driveway Alarm for $61.97 on Amazon. 

If you need to cover a larger area, then it's best to go with 1byone's Wireless Driveway Alarm. It comes with two sensors but can incorporate up to fifty additional ones to protect your home from all angles if you have a particularly large backyard and you live in an isolated part of town. 1byone's system will cost you $24.99.

Empty Dog House

Decoys are extremely effective at deterring burglars and criminals. How your home looks on the outside is instrumental to a burglar's decision-making. If your home looks vulnerable and unprotected, they will undoubtedly start to plan their course of infiltration. If your home looks protected and occupied, they will feel that it's not worth the risk and move on to another target. The Bureau of Justice Statistics reported in 2014 that 70% of all burglaries occurred when the home wasn't occupied. That means that your best bet is to make your home always look like it is busy for eyes that never sleep.

The following four decoys have shown time and time again that the homeowner on the inside means business:

Dog Decoys: Placing a large bowl, dog house, "beware" sign, and muzzle in your front yard will send a message to onlooking scavengers. A worn-out leash and used up muzzle will make your culprit know that you're not to be messed with. You don't need to have a dog for this to work, but having one in the background with more bark than bite is enough to add to the whole effect.

IP Camera: Cameras, in general, even when they're not actively recording, scare burglars into thinking they're being watched. A facial description may not be obtainable because of their masks but their physical dimensions easily are and contribute to law enforcement's confirmation of potential suspects.

IP cameras are especially popular because they're wireless - hence, easy to install - and connect via broadband and home networks. If you're subscribed to a professional monitoring service, wireless cameras and IP cameras are practically better than landline-connected cameras because they transmit data at a much faster rate. Moreover, if a methodical home invader decides to cut the phone lines to your house, the camera will continue to work and record what's happening. One major benefit of IP cameras is that they're protected with a military-grade encryption that fends off tech-savvy burglars and criminals from hacking them.

For an all-around active surveillance system, OOSSXX's 960P Wireless IP Cameras include four camera units, wireless connectivity, 1TB HDD, and remote access that supports Android and iOS. This can be yours for $289.90 from Amazon.

Yard signs & decals put the idea into a would-be burglar's head that your home is rigged and loaded with security devices and monitoring equipment left and right. At the very least, they will check out other homes in the neighborhood before they attack yours.

SimpliSafe is selling these for as little as $9.99 on Amazon, and with the words "24/7 Police Dispatch" mentioned on the sign, the burglar will think it's way too risky to infiltrate your home. 

Your Car's Bumper Stickers: As was said before, the first impression that your home makes gauges a burglar's encouragement in targeting it. Using your car as a billboard to advertise what it is you're willing to do to trespassers makes them fear your readiness more than they do the police. Having bumper stickers with pictures of anti-gun control euphemisms and catch phrases go a long way - of course, you don't need to be for or against gun control, it's only in keeping with the overall appearance. 

Bumper stickers with Second Amendment sentiments or handgun logos with phrases like "We don't call the police" do the job well. Averaging around $3.00, you can find these on Amazon to complete your list of outdoor decoys for pesky burglars.

TV Simulator: Nothing bothers a burglar more than a night owl who won't go to sleep. TV simulators do wonders with this idea by making your bedroom or living room glow with very brightly colored LEDs to emulate active HDTV programming. Of course, you would have to hide it behind closed or semi-closed blinds or in a second-floor bedroom so no one knows the source of light activity, otherwise, your cover will be blown.

Dropcessories is selling their super effective Extra Bright TV Simulator for a super cheap $20.99. 

2. Secure Your Windows & Doors

Install Window & Door Sensors

These nifty devices set an alarm off if a door or window sash happen to be opened by an intruder. The only drawback with them is that breaking the glass to a window won't be detected unless the contact sensor can pick up on such vibrations.

Fortress's contact sensors get the job done by sounding the siren and calling a sequence of phone numbers (of your choice) using their S02/GSM system if and when someone tries to break in. The Fortress Security Store is selling each device for $16.99 on Amazon. 

If you're constantly on the move and traveling to and from different places, a very worthwhile and affordable investment is the Ultra-Slim Door and Window Contact Sensor 5-Pack from Doberman. Super light and super easy to install, these little guys sound a 100dB loud alarm, waking you and everyone on your hotel floor up. Travelers and couch surfers can find a 5-pack of these for $33.99 on Amazon.

Install Break-In Sensors

Break-in sensors, also known as glass-break sensors, are reliable booby traps for intruders that think the window is a safe point of entry. Out of the box, these sensors are typically set on the highest sensitivity setting which is too high. You want it set anywhere from the mid-range and up - this will eliminate the possibility of false alarms. Another tip would be to install the device to the adjacent wall or ceiling of the window - this is to provide enough space for the high-pitch frequency of shattered glass to travel and easier to detect by the sensor.

Honeywell's 5853 Wireless Glass Break Detector is easily one of the best on the market as far as break-in sensors go. The device has no minimum range limitations, includes adjustable sensitivity, and is currently being sold for $39.75 on Amazon.

Change Your Locks
Door Lock with Electronic Keypad

Considering that most burglaries begin at the front and back doors, you would be wasting your time and money if they're not able to withstand a beating or picking. When it comes to home protection, one of its key elements and potentially its weakest point is the lock. 

It is not at all difficult to practice lock picking. The only issue burglars have with it is that it can take a while if they're not very skilled at it, and it can immediately arouse suspicion and unwanted attention from neighbors. For this reason, experienced lock pickers decide from the get-go whether they should even bother trying. Your best bet to fend off crafty infiltrators is to replace your lock with a keyless keypad door lock. This immediately tells a trespasser that there is no way in through the front or back door.

A great example of this is the Electronic Keypad Door Lock by Ardwolf. It offers three programmable options of entry: a code, a Mifare card, a mechanical key, and its lever is reversible to accommodate right-handed and left-handed users. The keyhole is hidden from plain sight, but press a button on the back of the lever and you can push back the lever's padding to expose the hidden keyhole. This neat little trick ensures that you don't ever get left stranded - just keep a spare key on you at all times. Apart from your own custom access codes, you can apply temporary one-time-only access codes for guests and visitors. Another great feature is an optional automatic locking mechanism which can be programmed to lock automatically 5 seconds after every valid entry. 

Get a Home Security System
Monitoring Agent

If you want a ready-made system so you don't have to give mind to assembling and installing the previous components yourself, get a home security system from one of the top providers in your area. Home security companies will give you the option for around-the-clock professional monitoring on their part if you agree to a 2-year or 3-year commitment contract of paying a monthly fee. You don't have to spend a fortune on services like these. Monitoring plans start from just under 20 bucks a month, depending on the provider you choose. You get a whole host of security components for your whole house and monitoring agents watching your back 24x7. 

To find providers in your area and get a free estimate instantly, visit our home security companies page.

Apply Bulletproof Ballistic Film
Sheets of Ballistic Windows

The Bureau of Justice Statistics found that 1.83 million instances of "serious" violent victimizations occurred in 2015, and of those incidents, almost 9.8 hundred thousand were reported to have involved the use of weapons and a near 6.6 hundred thousand to have resulted in injury. The weapons that burglars use include anything from boxcutters to 50. caliber assault rifles.

If your town consistently has a high property and violent crime rate every year, you have to make your home unbreakable, which isn't difficult. Securing your first-floor windows with a bulletproof ballistic film is very effective at stalling an intruder from getting into your house. Using a gun, for instance, will make holes in the glass but the film would keep it from shattering and require manual labor and time before they're through - the same goes for sledgehammers.  

They would have to spend a long time trying to remove the sash altogether which would trigger the window contact sensors, or they would have to spend an even longer time trying to break the glass, and by then law enforcement would be at your doorstep having been summoned by the break-in sensor.

Thinking of applying some to your windows? An excellent, reliable, and affordable product would have to be the 8 Mil BDF Security Window Film, currently down from $44.90 to $34.90.

3. Fight Back

Install an Indoor Camera

For a quality camera with a crisp picture, 90-degree viewing angle, remote control, intelligent zoom and pan, and a night-vision range of up to 32 feet, Amcrest's ProHD Wireless IP Camera is a great cornerstone for home security's video surveillance. It will set you back $99.99 on Amazon.

Use a 911 Alert System

If 24/7 monitoring from home security companies is too much to commit to on a monthly basis, Guard Llama's personal security Bluetooth device is simple and effective. It works by sending a signal to a 24/7 monitoring agent who notifies the police of an emergency situation at your last known location. This feature makes it ideal for you if you regularly travel and constantly on the move. Simply pair it with your phone using the free app and help will come. 

Get 24/7 protection, emergency dispatch service, GPS location technology with nationwide coverage, and the Bluetooth device for only $9.95 a month here.

Attack Pen

Tactical attack pens work as regular pens only they're capable of puncturing skin tissue and hard objects. Having one on your nightstand is a good idea since it won't be suspected as a weapon to an intruder and can cause serious damage when things get desperate. 

An extremely rugged and reliable choice is the Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen. Like most pens, it releases a ball point with simple push-button deployment, although if you'll notice, the tip has a glass-break point for practical and self-defense uses. Its shell is made completely from stainless steel and can cause significant damage when struck correctly. The current deal on the Gerber tactical pen is $34.90.

Stun Gun
Stun Gun

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 56.3% of criminals that perpetrated "serious" violent crimes used some kind of weapon. Safe to say that most burglars and home intruders happen to be men who prefer to attack homes with women living alone as they pose a lesser risk. This gives you the advantage to successfully fight back with something petrifying when they least expect it.

The Vipertek VTS-989 stun gun is easily one of if not the best self-defense weapon you could have by your side if a burglar decides to have any funny ideas. Accompanied by a LED flashlight in between its metal electrodes, an anti-snatch high voltage shock, and electrodes sharp enough to penetrate thick clothing, the attacker has no chance of success within close range. Vipertek is selling this powerful weapon for a bargain price of $14.99.

If you don't want to mess around and would rather use a firearm, check out our beginner's guide to owning a gun.

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