Smart phone. Smart home.

Your smart phone isn’t only for watching the latest movie, playing Angry Birds, or asking it to suggest the best restaurant in the area – it also has the power to fully control and automate your home. The ever changing landscape of technology is growing exponentially, and now you can integrate your smart phone to manage your business or home remotely. Here are four different scenarios that you can do with just a swipe of your phone to control your home.

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1. Turn on the lights.

You’re out late with family and want the front entry lights to brighten your home and ward off would-be criminals. With Signal Secure, your smart phone features a remote control where you can turn on the lights throughout the house, no matter where you are.

 

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2. Unlock the doors.

There might be a time when either your need to let your child in because they lost the key, or a relative drops by for an unexpected visit and you’re not home. No problem! With a couple swipes on your phone, you can unlock the doors and welcome them in from wherever you are.

 

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3. Staying updated.

Perhaps the backdoor opens unexpectedly, a water faucet is left on, a light burns out, or you forgot to arm the alarm system entirely. With your home security app, you can view and refresh updates about the activity of your home, receive text messages or email alerts for virtually anything related to your home, view live video feed, and even pull up archived surveillance footage from the past for you to review.

 

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4. Keeping tabs.

You decided to go on that fabulous vacation to Miami for a week, but left the kids home with grandma. With Signal Secure, you can monitor every room in the house in real time via your home security app to see and hear if the kids are behaving and treating grandma with respect – so you can actually have peace of mind and enjoy your vacation.

 

As technology advances with the marriage of smart phones and home security, you need a company that’s moving forward and staying ahead of the curve. Signal Secure – Costa Rica’s foremost authority in home security – is on the cutting edge of this technology. Our home security experts will help you integrate these features into your home, protecting you and your family. Contact us today and find out how you can control your home with a tap and a swipe of your phone. Who knows? Maybe one day, you’ll finally be able to get your security app to make you banana pancakes for breakfast.

Does Costa Rica have security issues or not?

By Special Guest Contributor Ivo Henfling of GoDutchRealty.com

I received this email from Paul, a future expat, today:

“I just returned from a 4 day trip to San Jose and participated in an Expat seminar put on by International Living magazine at the San Jose Marriott.  I walked to 7:00 mass one morning through a neighborhood where EVERY HOUSE had heavy iron gates across the driveway, razor wire and or electrical security fence and some even had uniformed guards.

What on earth are the Ticos afraid of?  I live in the DETROIT area sometimes called the MURDER City instead of the Motor City and I assure the only razor wire you see is at the county jail.  What gives? “

This is my answer to Paul and to all of the future expats and retirees who have the same doubt about property in Costa Rica and your security when you move here:

Hi Paul, I am glad you enjoyed your 4 day trip and the 2012 International Living conference, we did too! Let me first explain about the razor wire and other security measurements the Ticos take. It is a very simple explanation, though a long one. I had to check first how much jail time you get for home invasion for example in the US to give you a clear answer:

1) Home invasion in the first degree is a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 20 years or a fine of not more than $5,000.00, or both.

2) Home invasion in the second degree is a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 15 years or a fine of not more than $3,000.00, or both.

3) Home invasion in the third degree is a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 5 years or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both.

The judicial system and welfare

That said, Costa Rica like most of Latin America, has a messed up judicial system that takes forever to judge a case and there is no money to build jails. The reason is that most people in Costa Rica don’t pay their taxes. Expats who live in Costa Rica don’t pay any taxes either, except for the duty on imported goods, the sales tax they pay in the stores and a variety of real estate taxes.

Costa Rica does not have a welfare system like many 1st world countries and there are a lot of poor people here. So anybody who loses his/her job for whatever reason, has to find a way to feed the babies. And there is also the drug addict who will do anything to pay for his habit. For the above reasons, we have a lot of petty thievery and even if the police does catch them, they have to let them go in a few hours because there are not enough jails to put them in. Most jails in Costa Rica have an 80% overpopulation.

Security systems

To stop thieves to come into our home, in Costa Rica we build walls around it, razor wire on top and if we have flatscreen TV’s, jewelry and other valuables, even a security system.


Because of this petty thievery, Costaricans protect themselves as much as they can with alarm systems, razor wires and a security fence. It is like a competition of who has a better security system, starting the day a house is built. I used to have a chainlink fence and one night, someone broke into my office and took all my cameras and computers and probably sold it all for a few bucks. Now I have a electrical security fence too, though I don’t have any bars on my windows. You can also grow Bougainvillea around your property like I did, I’ve actually done a blog about that a while ago.

Adjust your lifestyle

No place on earth is perfect and living in Latin America also has a negative side and you just found it. If you are looking to live in another country, you might have to adjust your lifestyle a bit. In Costa Rica, you will see very little police around and even if they pick up the thief, nothing much will happen to the thief, quite the opposite from the 5 years, the 15 years and the 20 years in jail of punishment they will receive where you come from.

Condo living


I have lived in a condo, right next to my neighbors, with security fences all over and security guards everywhere and living in a condo is not my lifestyle either. I live in a single family home and besides the security fence I have, we also pay a guard at entrance of our street. But I live in Escazu, which is more city, where you have more security issues (if you don’t protect your home) then you will have in more rural areas like Atenas, Grecia and San Ramon. Though living in those areas doesn’t make your home safe. You still need to make sure there is either someone taking care of your home while you are away, like a maid, a gardener or a friend or at least have a neighbor keep an eye out.

Not feeling unsafe

I have lived in Costa Rica for over 30 years and haveNEVER felt unsafe. Just like everybody else, I just like to make sure nobody takes my belongings when I’m not looking.

If you plan to move to Costa Rica, you need to keep an open mind for some of these issues as they are a fact. If you move to another country, you will need to be aware of the advantages as well as the disadvantages of living there. When you move to Costa Rica, wherever you will live, security is definitely an issue you should be aware of and you should consult your real estate agent about the security issue when you are looking at properties in Costa Rica for sale and for rent.

The lights are on, but no one’s home.

It’s no secret that crimes of opportunity – such as robberies and burglaries – are the most common crimes in Costa Rica. Experts say that burglars take 4 to 5 minutes to break into a home…. or they go elsewhere for an easier opportunity.

 

Question: How can you prevent burglars from seeing your home as an opportunity from afar?

Answer: By creating a presence that someone is in the house (even when you’re away).

One of the most effective ways to create a presence is simple – turn on the lights. A brightened home makes your house look alive and lived-in…. not the ideal conditions for a simple daytime break-in attempt. But do you really need to keep the lights on ALL DAY? Wouldn’t it be nice if different rooms could brighten themselves intermittently? With Signal Secure, Costa Rica’s most trusted home security system, you can program and customize lighting settings all day and night. A ‘daytime’ setting could turn lights on throughout the home at pre-determined intervals. You can even integrate Signal Secure’s automated window treatment feature to have your blinds open as your lights turn off in a particular room while you’re away. And a ‘visitor’ setting could activate both the porch and front entry lights by the trip of a laser fence when guests approach your home. Remember, a darkened home can signal an unoccupied home to unwanted visitors, so lighting is essential in complementing your security system.

Offering a security system with advanced integration, Signal Secure enables you to take complete control of the lighting in your home—regardless of whether you’re away at work, on vacation, or just out with the family.  With Signal Secure’s remote technology, you can conveniently control, schedule, time, and even monitor the lighting of your house with the simple use of a smart phone, PC, or telephone.

With Signal Secure, you can have peace of mind – even when the lights are on and no one’s home.