Some of my most successful first dates have been at my home (son away) or at their home. It's very rare that I can meet someone right away, I usually chat to them quite a bit before we meet although I tend to set a date early on. It's better for me to be somewhere super low key and although I wouldn't recommend everyone do it, I trust my sense of character.
The worst that's happened is meeting someone you're not enamored with and I don't see them again. No, actually, it was having sex with that guy who started cuckolding my other partners. But I just left. Never been stalked, raped or otherwise seriously harmed by a stranger off the internet. It's the fuckers closer to home who do that shit.