Installing a Security System in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is one of the most beautiful destination to move to or retire in, expats that relocate here are among the happiest in the world, although it is one most safeties places in Central America in general, it has more unsafe places than others, if you live in the city or fast-growing locations on the cost it is recommendable to install a security system with cameras. An easy way to tell if a location requires more safety than others is checking up on your new neighbors, If they have big fences or bars in the windows it is most likely for of a reason. Bars on the window is the most common security system in Costa Rica and they work pretty good, Tico thieves won’t target houses that present too much work. If you really want to deter criminals then a big fence, bars on the windows and the presence of a security system will really do the trick.

Whether you are installing a camera for the safety of your family or your business, there are a few things you need to know to get started and the essential know how of finding the right fit for you.

First and most important to know are weather factors. Tropical weather that is always changing from sun to rain needs waterproof cameras that withstand ultraviolet light, or you can opt to place them in a shaded roofed area. Condensation can become a huge problem for outside cameras since the humidity is upwards of 100% in many areas of Costa Rica. Falling branches pose a big threat to outside cameras in the rainy season, so be sure to cut any branches above the areas where you plan on installing the cameras.

Second, know if you are going to need them for your house or business because the prices may vary depending on how many cameras you will be installing. It’s good to know if you prefer an analog camera or a IP camera, the analog camera is connected to a DVR, which gives you the option of watching your video live and with good resolution, while the IP cameras have higher resolution and may not need to purchase a DVR which in Costa Rica can be from $400 to $1800 , they are much easier to install, not forgetting a wide rage of coverage, more than 32 cameras at a time.

You can opt to hire a private company which can cost from $200 a month or more, depending on the range and place you will need them to visit, plus installation. If you are new to Costa Rica you should know that companies in Costa Rica are not nearly as reliable as a security company from the USA. Chances are if they are supposed to show up to fix a problem it could takes weeks. If a guard needs to reply to an alarm then he may be sleeping on the job or if he there are multiple alarms going off at the same time then the guard will most likely not be able to handle all the pressure. Wages are low in Costa Rica and for the most part employees have very little training. If you think you are hiring a professional electrician to install your cameras, chances are that electrician has little education or training.

Installing them yourself may be a good option, packages of this kind can go from $300 to $2500. However if you are buying a package that is compatible in the USA you will want to make sure it is compatible to work in Costa Rica as well because many of the new technologies are not available here or the signals may not be available.

It is always advisable to make cameras visible, instead of hiding them, this will make more of a presence and will intimidate people with bad intentions, place cameras on your garage, front side of the house, back side and most important windows. It is also a great idea to hide back up cameras just in case the criminals break your visible camera.

Always have a backup battery for your security system. In Costa Rica the power will go out when you need it the most.

Always compare different prices and companies and ask for the price of materials, If you are a new gringo to the country then chances are that contractors will try to charge you more than normal, this is commonly known as being “gringoed”. Costa Rica is more enjoyable with our loved ones safe.

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