Over the past couple of days, there has been lots of discussion about my friend’s break-in and crime in particular on the Costa Rica Living Group board. If you are thinking of moving here, I recommend joining. Lots of good info from people who live here now. So far, no one is moving out and no one seems to have changed their plans to move here. That’s encouraging – we are not alone in that assessment.
One of the members – who I’ve met and who has given me great advice – talks about safes. That, yes, any safe can be broken into given enough time. If you have a Real Safe and are not in the house for six months, that safe can likely be compromised. If you are not there for a few hours and you have a Real Safe, your stuff is secure.
The problem with a safe is that, if someone breaks into your house with a gun and holds it to your son’s head (one of the thieves held a gun to my friend’s daughter’s head), you will open anything they want. I think this is why armed break-ins are more and more common: if someone is there, they will tell you where the good stuff is.
We don’t have a Real Safe simply because we have nothing to put in it… I’m afraid of NOT having anything to give them… will they believe me?
On the Gallo Pinto board, there was a post about LoJack for Computers, so if someone steals your computer, it can be found anywhere in the world. LoJack guarantees this. There is also a story in their sales blurb about a computer being recovered in Costa Rica.
We’ve decided to put up a sign (in Spanish) stating the facts next to our electric meter:
– ADT wireless monitored alarm system
– You are being videotaped right now ("Sonrisa! Usted esta in video!" – Smile, you are on camera)
– Entire perimeter monitored by video
– Occupants are armed and can shoot straight
– All electronics are LoJack enabled – we can trace our equipment anywhere in the world and you will be caught
I don’t want a sign like this on my house, but I surely want to discourage thieves. Even if it’s only the timid ones. I’m going with the "prevention is better than cure" approach. I don’t want to have to shoot my gun or call LoJack or monitor my video 24/7. I want to discourage any attempt at all. I’m also fairly confident thieves want your stuff, not trouble.
One poster noted that if you have all the barbed wire, dogs, "owner armed" signs, alarm signs… this will scare off timid thieves but tell the bolder ones you have something worth stealing.
Sorry, but if you are a gringo, ladrones KNOW you have something worth stealing. If you live in a big house in Escazú, the odds go up dramatically. Even an old house like ours… I guess we could move out of here but I don’t want to move! I like my house and Escazú. Having to put up – even thinking I have to put up – a sign like this is very discouraging. But all in all, we still love living in Costa Rica.
Besides, I’ve heard from enough people, both here and in the U.S., that while moving out of Escazú might lessen our break-in chances – particularly armed ones, it won’t cure it. I’ll still be living in a fortress. I’m not a campo kinda gal, so the deep country is out for me.
People in the U.S. say don’t go back there, it’s no fun. Admittedly, these are people who read my blog and this board so they are predisposed to wanting to move to Costa Rica. So far, we don’t see going back as the cure. That would be a bitter pill.
This is tough
Where I live I feel very safe…..but I am a paranoid Tico anyway so I do paranoid things which to me are ‘normal’ , YET people nearby (of course) have been robbed in the standard and non standard ways (standard= breaking into, non standard full blown invasion with machine guns and stuff)
If you move to a different location you face the same risk (perhaps lower but it is still very much there) and besides your social life might suffer (not as easy to go /do stuff when you live 45 minutes from everyone you have met) as well as your kids for instance.
I have to say that I can’t think of many ways where you could be 100% (or 80%) protected unless you live secluded in a gated community AND EVEN THEN there have been cases of………..
My wife wants to trade the car for a newer/bigger one ……and I am already thinking of the increase ‘bounty’ on my head for it……if you have $ and look like a destitute then you are not a big of a target.
Trust me… I look destitute…
The question, it seems to me, is: do you look destitute to the criminals down there? Of course, there’s always safety in numbers, and now that you’ve got Llewellyn to back you up….
Oh, hahahaha, Chuck. You are HYSTERICAL. But you know I hadn’t thought of the silver lining here…
ok well let me rephrase, I look destitute (torn jeans, rarely shave, broken sandals etc) but I carry a 1000 dollar gun and I know very well how to use it lol
the problem we have here in CR is simple, have’s/have nots are totally mixed, I walk three blocks from my house where all houses are nice and end up in a place where they are pretty ran down. its the same everywhere, you can’t move to a place where everything is ‘fine’
at least I look destitute AND local (unless my wife is with me and then I look like a bodyguard or better yet, a gold digger male version LOL)
Reality is that south of the Bravo river I can only think of two countries where I might feel ‘safer’, everywhere else expect it to be as CR OR (normally) much worse
Both my boys look tico, especially Mo. When I go places with him, people assume I have my worker with me. They all speak to him in Spanish and order him about… when he calls me Mom, they are very confused…
So… what two countries?
I disagree, Wolfie.
Panama is safer than Costa Rica, in Central America.
Argentina, Chile, Uruguay … parts of Colombia…
by safe I mean more than ‘being mugged on the street’ safe but a recent history of political stability, in other words, no active guerilla movements, no presidents being murdered or dictatorships disappearing people
safe parts of Colombia? you mean the ones where there is zero presence of the FARC? perhaps that is where they have the kidnapped congress woman. pretty safe for her LOL
Chile had nice Pinochet (incidentally I know a few Chileans that ended up here when they had to escape Chile) and Argentina they had quite a few people ‘disappeared’ as well during their dictatorship
as to Panama while I like Panama City a lot I haven’t explored the rest of the country to make an informed decision, I do remember them telling me NOT to go under any circunstance to the Colon Free Trade zone which to me sounded odd but oh well (lots of commerce you would imagine requires lots of security for all parties involved)
btw for the record and not to sound two faced… when I said I could think of 2 countries in SA, the ones I had in mind were Argentina and Chile (I have heard a lot about Uruguay but never been there so I cant say I have first hand experience=