I just finished reading Beyond Fear: Thinking Sensibly About Security in an Uncertain World by Bruce Schneier. The last few paragraphs are something I’d like to quote here, and recommend to get the book for yourself if you are inclined:
Can you make your home absolutely safe? No; that’s the bad news. Can you do things to dramatically reduce the risk of having bad things happen to you and your family? Yes; that’s the good news. But the things you can do generally have more to do with protecting against accidents than protecting against attackers.
When people think of keeping their families safe, they mostly think of protecting them against intruders. They think of preventing the kinds of horrible things that make the front pages of newspapers. But those aren’t that real risks. Horrifying as those crimes are, they are not what kill most kids. The leading causes of death to children are automobile accidents, gun injuries, drowning, and suicide. The likelihood of each can be reduced greatly, and by means that everyone already knows. Buckle up your kids. Lock up your guns. Pay for swimming lessons and teach your kids to swim. Pay attention to your children’s state of mind. Don’t tolerate abuse.
Still scared of a creazed stalker breaking into your house and kidnapping your children? That’s okay, but make sure you know that the fear is in your mind and not based on the real risks. The best way to protect against intruders in your home is to turn on the bathroom light. Don’t beliebe me, believe the world’s smartest ex-burglar, Malcom X: “I can give you a very good tip if you want to keep burglars of your house. A light on for the burglars to see is the very best means of protection. One of the ideal things is to leave a bathroom light on all night. The bathroom is one please where somebody could be, for any length of time, at any time of the night, and he would be likely to hear the slightest strange sound. The burglar, knowing this, won’t try to enter. It’s also the cheapest possible protection. The kilowatts are a lot cheaper than your valuables.”
Or get a dog…
Now that’s a security trade-off.