Whether you live in an apartment or a house, more people know where you live than you might realize. Outside of your friends, family, and neighbors, other parties gain access to your address through the course of normal transactions. As a result, it's important to stay careful and prepared when it comes to home security.
Your home is meant to be a safe space, providing you with the freedom to be independent and to live your best life. However, it's best to stay aware of potential dangers and ensure the proper home security measures are in place. An important part of those measures is being mindful of the people who know where you live.
In fact, it's reported that four times more likely to fall victim to a burglary.
In 2019, 36.48 million people were living alone in their homes in the U.S. For these individuals especially, but also for any size household, it's important to be aware of and implement the best security measures to keep your home a safe haven.
10 'Common' people who know where you live
Not everyone who has your home address or knows where you live is a threat. However, it's important to be mindful of who these individuals are and to consider the safety measures you have in place to keep you and your home safe.
To help, we've created a list of people who know where you live that you may not have considered:
Uber or Lyft drivers
Uber and Lyft drivers often pick you up from or drop you off at your house or apartment. They often live near the route they drive, and if you live along that route, chances are they will regularly drive by your home. The Uber and Lyft vetting processes have faced criticism for not being as rigorous as those for official taxi or cab drivers, which is something to be mindful of when you make use of their services. Also, when using a rideshare service to take you to the airport, be aware that the traveling and won't be at home.
Mail carriers and other delivery persons
There are a lot of things your mail carriers know about you. Your mail carrier typically delivers your mail straight to your door or mailbox every day. This means that every day, they are around to pick up on and understand your routines potentially. The vetting process for other people making deliveries to your house depends mostly on the company they work for, but it's not always rigorous. If the same service is regularly delivering your online orders, chances are these people will become more and more familiar with your home. They may also pick up on times when you are or aren't at home, as well as whether or not you have a home security system.
Whether it's your doctor, your dentist, or another health care practitioner, you must provide them with personal information when you make an appointment, including your home address. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) does protect sensitive information about patients. However, it's still good to keep in mind there are many individuals in health care settings who do have access to this information.
Banks and credit card companies
In order to open a bank account and obtain a debit or credit card, you have to provide the bank or credit card company with proof of address. We need these cards in everyday life, so giving up that information is essentially unavoidable. This is yet another way in which other people can gain access to your personal information, including your home address. Luckily, various financial privacy laws do limit the number of people who have access to your personal information, but it is still accessible to some extent.
More and more people are turning to the convenience of food delivery services. In fact, it is estimated that by 2025, online food delivery will become a $200 billion industry. As soon as you start making a habit of ordering the same food or using the same delivery services, people will start to learn where you live. This is true for the restaurant and the delivery company, but especially for the person delivering the food to your doorstep.
Cable or internet installers
In today's world, people rely on having cable and internet services in their homes. In most cases, this means a cable or internet installer will need to enter your home to set up service. By giving these people access to your home, not only are they learning where you live, but they can also get a good sense of the security systems you may or may not have.
Dog walkers and house sitters
People generally don't employ dog walkers or house sitters without having a certain level of trust established with them. However, by giving them access to your home and allowing them into your personal space, you are providing them with a lot of information about you and your home. It's especially important to be mindful of the information you may give them about arming and disarming your home security system.
It's a given that your neighbors know where you live. But more than that, they most likely know your routines, including when you are or aren't at home. The more neighbors move into your neighborhood, the more people who know where you live and what your routines are.
Regardless of where you live, be it in a house or an apartment complex, the need for maintenance services is inevitable. Maintenance workers may have, or need access to, the inside of your home. As they may spend a longer period of time within your home, this may make you vulnerable to compromising scenarios. Another potential threat people need to be mindful of is the threat of people posing as maintenance workers with the sole intention of making their way into your home.
Security measures you can implement to stay safe in your home
While today's burglary statistics are decreasing, there are still around 325,000 homes being broken into every year in the U.S. We're also living in a digital age where we often choose the convenience of subscriptions and online orders to be delivered to our doorsteps. These online orders increase the number of people who know where you live, so the key is to remain vigilant. This means we need to be extra mindful of the home security measures we have in place to maintain safety and security.
Take preventative measures
We cannot always change the way we live our lives entirely. However, it is within your power to secure yourself and your home to avoid becoming a victim of a home invasion. Luckily, you can take many preventative measures to keep you and your home safe and secure.
Stay in tune with your surroundings
- Get to know your neighbors: Not only does this give you the opportunity to find out who they are, but by striking up a relationship with them, you'll have an extra set of eyes on any suspicious activity happening around your home.
- Observe your surroundings: It is very easy to get so caught up and embedded in technology that we don't take the time to observe our surroundings. Walk around and keep an eye on the activities going on in your neighborhood. Or join or create a neighborhood watch group and work together to ensure the safety of the entire neighborhood.
Create a safe home
- Install outdoor and indoor security cameras: Install outdoor cameras near all entry points of your home. Outdoor cameras are often a big deterrent for criminals, making them think twice about the risk they're taking when breaking into your home. There are also many benefits to installing security cameras within the home itself and monitoring the goings-on in your home in real-time. Modern technology allows you to have 24/7 access to a live feed of your indoor (or outdoor) security cameras. This means you can keep an eye on your house, as well as on anyone you have given access to your home.
- Get an alarm system and install sensors: An alarm system connected to door and window sensors will alert you (or the security company you're registered with) that someone has entered your home, regardless of whether you're in the house at the time.
Utilize important safety strategies
There are many important safety strategies you can implement to keep you and your home safe. Let's take a look at a few tips:
- Always lock your doors and windows. Make sure you always lock up when you leave your home, even if you're just popping over to the neighbor's house quickly or taking your dog for a short walk. According to FBI statistics, 61.2% of burglaries involve forced entry, so investing in a high-security door is also worth investing.
- Keep your friends and family on speed dial. Always make sure someone knows what you're doing or where you're going. You can even share your live location with them, so they are ready to jump in and help at any moment. You can easily do this on your smartphone using apps such as Google Maps or WhatsApp. You simply "share" your live location, and the person you're sharing it with can track your location in real-time.
- Switch up your routine. Since many burglaries and home invasions are committed by someone familiar with the home, switch up your routine to make it less predictable when you will or won't be at home. If there are different routes you can take when driving home, switch those routines up too.
- Protect your privacy on social media. Social media can give others a big insight into your daily routine, the layout of your home, and even whether or not you may have valuable possessions. Don't overshare your location or activities, and avoid letting people see too much of the inside of your home.
- Learn self-defense. Learning self-defense is as empowering as it is effective when it comes to protecting yourself. There are many free resources you can use to learn more about self-defense.
- Carry safety devices. There are many options when it comes to devices you can carry with you for protection, including pepper spray, micro stun guns, or self-defense keychains.
The bottom line
We don't often think about how many people outside of our close circle of friends and family know where we live. Although someone simply knowing where you live doesn't mean they're a threat, it's also a good idea to never take personal and home safety for granted and always to remain aware. Be proactive, utilize important safety strategies, and install a home security system. By doing so, you'll ensure your home remains a safe haven.