Since the break-in at our house, everybody has been asking me the same question: what are we going to do about it?
The short answer? Nothing.
In the aftermath of the whole thing, I expected to feel very unsafe. The fact is, I never felt it. I’m sure losing so little has a lot to do with it, but honestly I don’t feel any different today than I did before this happened. It’s just a thing that happened.
Yes, we talked about putting bars on the basement windows. We haven’t ruled it out. But at the end of the day, if someone wants to get in, they’ll get in. We’re not going to bar up every window of our house, and there are plenty of windows they could break if they wanted to. Heck, they could just stand outside and break windows, and that would probably be costlier than anything they could steal.
Honestly, if I felt like we needed bars on our windows, then I think we shouldn’t be living here anymore. But I don’t feel like that. I feel like some stupid kids did something dumb, and it could have happened anywhere. First and foremost, don’t blame Chicago. Everyone who doesn’t live in Chicago gets a look on their face like, “Well, that’s what you get for living in Chicago!”
Look, statistically speaking there are probably more break-ins in Chicago, but there are a lot of factors in that; you have to look at it on a per capita basis, you have to factor in neighborhood and habits and personal associations. Even after all of that, we might still be more statistically likely to have a break-in, but I bet the difference is smaller than you think. And certainly anecdotally I know of at least two break-ins that were much worse and happened in much smaller towns: one with 2.3% of the population of Chicago, and one with 1.1% the population.
I think you also have to look at the cost of “preventative measures”. There’s always more you can do to “protect” your home, but is it really worth it? The window would have been broken in any case; would it have been worth $1000 to save $30 in stolen items? Is it worth creating an atmosphere of terror and paranoia for the kids to save *any* amount of money? My happiness and well-being would be negatively affected by surrounding myself with security measures and bars on my windows. I don’t know what my happiness and well-being is worth, but I’m certain it’s worth more than any object my house has to offer.
At the end of the day, it was just a thing that happened. It could happen again, or it could not. Maybe I could have prevented it, maybe I could not. Maybe next time it could be worse; they could have stolen more, or damaged more, or we could have been home. I could get mugged or hit by a stray bullet. But I also could be hit by a car, or hit by a falling anvil, or contract antibiotic resistant MRSA. You can not 100% ensure your safety.
So the question is, do I spend my time between now and then living in fear, or do I forget about it and move on? I think you already know the answer to that question.