San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Security Measures Big Part of Life in Country

ASK foreign visitors what’s the firstthing that catches their attention when theyget to San José and they’ll likely mentionthe security or the perceived insecurity.Costa Ricans appear to be obsessed withsecurity.Go to a typical residential neighborhoodand you’ll likely see bars on all thewindows, maybe even a barbwire fencearound the yard. Go to a fancy neighborhoodand you probably won’t be able tosee the houses – they’re surrounded bythick concrete walls.Go to certain fast-food restaurants indowntown San José and you’ll see securityguards holding an imposing-looking shotgunaimed at deterring criminals fromstealing the hamburgers. Security guardswith shotguns are also stationed outsideprivate universities and many commercialestablishments.There may be reason for all these measures.Turn on the evening news and thefirst 20 minutes will recount all the latestviolent crimes that have taken place.No one seems to agree on the cause ofthis crime epidemic. Some people blamepoverty and the high cost of living. Othershave more xenophobic reasons, and blamethe immigrants.There’s no avoiding it, Costa Rica, likeany other place in the world, has crime.Fortunately, there are many ways toprotect your family and worldly possessions.Some people make sure to neverleave their house alone. Others get ferocious-looking guard dogs. Residents ofsome neighborhoods come together to hirea community security guard.IN recent years, alarm systems havedramatically increased in popularity inCosta Rica. Most home owners say alarmsgive them an added sense of security.ADT (, 257-7374)claims to be a world leader in security. Thecompany offers a wide range of alarm servicesfor residential and commercial properties.Worldwide, ADT has 12 millionclients, including 4 million in the UnitedStates.In Latin America, ADT provides securityin Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica,Mexico and Uruguay. In Costa Rica, ADTprovides integral security solutions for29,000 homes and businesses. ADT hasinvested more than $25 million installingits high-tech alarm, monitoring and surveillanceequipment in Costa Rica.ADT’s services have two main components– monitoring and enforcement. ADTprovides its customers with a state-of-the artalarm system, which is electronicallyconnected to its offices and makes it possiblefor them to monitor your home.In the event of a break in, the alarmsends a message to ADT’s monitoringoffices. ADT then contacts police andsends its own private security force to thehome to attempt to stop the burglars.ADT offers alarm systems for customersthroughout the country. However, itcan only dispatch officers to homes in theCentral Valley, Ciudad Quesada in theNorthern Zone and the Caribbean-slopetown of Guápiles. In the rest of the countryit only contacts police.CAMILO Quintero, Sales andMarketing Manager for ADT, said hebelieves alarm systems are an importanttool that complements security.“The recommendation is to take preventivesteps,” Quintero explained. “We’re acompany that provides integral securitysolutions that complement people. Our servicesallow people to see and hear what ishappening in their homes when they’re notthere. It’s about protecting your loved ones.“People need to act preventively,” hesaid. “Regrettably, things now happen inCosta Rica that didn’t happen 20 years ago.Criminals have become more professional,they’re more organized, there are kidnappingsand bank robberies. Our business isto provide tools to complement people’spersonal security efforts.”

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