“You never get a Second Chance at a First Impression”. Cliché right? Let’s connect the phrase to home security. The phrase provokes thoughts of personal image and interaction, perhaps a critical Job interview or dating experience. Now apply this to a “Huge Life Altering Experience” such as relocation to a foreign country.
And try “Surrounding yourself with a New Culture”, it can be a decisive part of whether or not your Costa Rica experience will be a wonderful and lasting chapter in your life. Or else, a bad memory as you reminisce on what it should have been.
Many websites will no doubt sell you on the paradise that Costa Rica “TRULY IS”. Often, homeowners neglect to fully delve into the more sensitive realities that are associated with any new and alien environment. There are many great differences between visiting and living in Costa Rica. It is important to note that you never get a Second Chance at a First Impression. Home security plays a huge role in that.
Personally, I traveled on 18 separate occasions to this wonderful country before taking the big leap. I will tell you from experience that I did not get the full take on the reality of things until I was fully entrenched. This is not to say that I feel I made even a small miscalculation in my decision of moving to Costa Rica. But I had better luck than some with whom I’ve spoken, due partly to good fortune, but also to some very good advice and research.
Joy and Lifestyle
Officially Costa Rica is classified as a “Developing Country”, and given the state of the roads and the Bureaucracy, sometimes it is hard to see past that. I have found that in nearly all other ways the country produces and encourages a lifestyle and level of joy and well being that may prove quite elusive or impossible in many “First World Nations”.
A big downfall of the country, however, is its lack of a proper and universal unemployment relief or short-term sustenance programs for those that have lost their jobs or find themselves in hard times. This particular lack, coupled with widely inadequate salaries tends to produce an element of a petty crime that is quite an extensive issue. Therefore, home security will be an important part of your new life in Costa Rica.
Robbery and gated communities
Possibly the most negative experience that befalls many new expats is that of robbery. Although home invasions (while you are at home) are not unheard of, this is usually a “return to find your home broken into and your personal possessions missing”. This is an intimate and truly traumatic experience that can certainly morph into a phobia of the alien culture you are then forced to re-evaluate.
The Government is making great strides in amplifying its police force. And private “Gated” communities are popping up everywhere. These “gated communities” must be carefully evaluated as to the effectiveness of their use of the term. There are many that provide a guard or two at the front gate and call it a day, leaving the entire perimeter and rear of the land un-patrolled. Ultimately at the end of the day the responsibility for keeping your possessions out of the local pawn shop, and your family and mind state in the right comfort zone is a great deal of common sense and a proper amount of attention to your home security.
Maximum Security effect
One popular approach I see commonly used in Home security is to create a MAXIMUM-Security Prison effect throughout your beautiful property. This approach is complete with razor wire, electrified barriers, and a “ steel cage motif ” on the various access points. While this is no doubt a formidable deterrent not to mention a serious Fire and Earthquake hazard, it tends to take away from the whole “life in paradise” feel we all come here intending to capture.
Install Home security?
Another approach is common enough, install a home security system… right? But again this decision must undergo a great deal of scrutiny on your part as to the value and functionality of the solution. Many alarm systems are the product of a business plan to sell you “piece of mind”. This comes with a free or inexpensive alarm panel, a couple of sensors and a monthly monitoring contract. This is fine and good for letting you know when someone has in fact broken into your home. On many occasions, it will do very little aside from alerting you to the fact that someone is probably on their way down the road with your favorite stuff.
So are there alternatives? Are these alternatives affordable? What do you do if you really want to be proactive in protecting your Family, Home, and Possessions?
You should source a company that provides custom and personalized home security systems based not on a recurring monthly revenue. That company should cater to your specific needs, your specific location, your specific budget, your specific infrastructure limitations. And above all, your well being, one that specializes in giving “YOU” the tools to monitor and control your security as though you yourself were a guard, standing in a tower overlooking your Costa Rica property 24 hours a day 365 days a year.
Enter the “Smart Home”
Intelligent Security and Home Automation have gained a largely undeserved stigma over the years of being extremely expensive, overly complex, and even at times unreliable. These perceptions stem from many aspects of their evolution, ranging from
- underdeveloped technology
- untrained installers
- misuse or poor planning
- improper thought to infrastructure limitations
- and a general lack of properly available educational resources.
These Smart Home solutions can achieve an invisible fortress that provides you the all seeing eye into that which transpires while you are away. If they are when properly planned and executed, based on your budget and individual needs. These invisible barriers can begin at the outer limits of your property alerting you to a “possible” danger and reacting to deter that threat before it becomes “real” danger.
Don’t break the bank
There are incredible resources available, and they don’t need to break the bank. By incorporating a Smart Home approach you can transform your home into a trusted partner and aide. The Smart Home systems will be both watching out for your well-being and possessions. They will also be assisting with daily tasks, and allow you to remain attentive to all that transpires in your home.
The underlying beauty of this approach is to plan from a standpoint of expandability. Install equipment based on your particular requirements. You can add components that can monitor and communicate with practically any subsystem in a house or commercial space.
Remote security when away
Never leave maintenance workers or childcare providers alone and un-monitored again. Have absolute control over who and when someone is permitted to enter your home. Light a path to your front door as your car enters the driveway. Be notified remotely when a family member arrives home. Have your Costa Rica home greet you on arrival with an inviting welcome. Imagine the perfect ambient lighting along with your favorite type of music at just the right volume.
There are countless ways to protect and amplify your security and peace of mind. All of which can be designed for your custom lifestyle, budget, and location. Have a look around our website. Discover what today’s Smart Homes are capable of. And what we can do to make your Costa Rica Experience a lasting and peaceful experience.
Author: Guest-blogger Darien Sherman is director of Operations at Signal Secure, Costa Rica. Signal Secure is active in planning, advising and consulting. Contact us for a Smart Home, Alternative Energy, Connected Security, Embedded Technology Engineering, and Asset and Fleet Monitoring and Mobile Connectivity technology.