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.


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