Ah, Delaware. Small, yet beautiful. The history packed inside of Delaware is nearly unmatched by any other state. As the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution, Delaware holds up the mantle of freedom and independence for the rest of the nation. We could go on about the vast amount of history, natural features and unique culture in the state. Gorgeous Rehoboth Beach incites the fancy of locals and visitors alike, and it certainly wouldn’t be a morning in Delaware without a plate loaded with scrapple. And Delaware, we know how much you love visitors. The lack of a sales tax screams loud and clear: “Come! Visit Delaware! Spend your money!” But that freedom you love and hold so dearly also sends an invite to a less savory crowd. There are those that, instead of saving money from sales taxes, will instead choose to save money through the age-old practice of burglary. Living in Delaware may itself be an act of independence, but missing out on home security in Delaware might be a bit too free.
Home Security Provider Requirements for Delaware
Despite having one of the smallest populations in the country (45th among all states, with just around 935,000 people), Delaware is also one of the most tightly packed states. Like sardines, Delawareans shove themselves in wherever they can find room. There are over 440 of you per square mile! That’s nearly five times the national average for population density. We’ll give you this, Delaware: you like people. A lot. Unfortunately, criminal elements see this type of population density as an opportunity. The burglary rate in Delaware is higher than what is found in even California. Sorry, Delaware. So many people packed into such a small space makes your state a bit of a burglary salad bar.
The state government in Delaware is not ignorant of this fact. Home security is a fairly big business in the state. Delaware residents have a lot of different companies to choose from, and the state government has effectively ensured that these companies know just what they can and cannot do within the state. The primary law governing security system providers and users within the state is an easy read and very straight forward. There are some interesting pieces that any potential buyer should note, of course, and some things that are missing that might just give a few residents pause. First, let’s look at what’s missing.
Unlike some states (Illinois, for example), Delaware does not regulate hiring practices within the home security provider industry. This could be concerning to some residents, as it effectively means that a security provider may well hire someone with a criminal background and who may have criminal intent. The last thing you want is the person installing your system to also be the person stealing your codes and breaking in while you’re away on vacation. In the case that you’re feeling just a bit worried about this fact, it’s certainly a good idea to ask the companies you’re interested in about their hiring practices. On a similar note, some states also have very strict requirements regarding licensing. Delaware requires home security providers to be registered in the state, and to have every home they service registered. However, they do not require that these businesses have a specific license in home security, nor do they require those working for home security providers to have an electrician’s license. Many larger states (Texas, for example) require the former, and a good number (such as Washington) require the latter. Delaware effectively places a lot of trust in home security companies to do a good bit of self-regulating.
Positively, Delaware throws in a few rules that many other states do not have. One is that they require the home security provider to have at least one office in the state. A security provider located in the same state as its customers? We know. Your mind was just effectively blown with that one. This seems a bit like common sense, but it’s not uncommon for many security providers to have monitoring stations that are outside of the states in which they do business. It’s certainly comforting to know that home security providers in Delaware actually have to call Delaware home, just like their customers do.
Unlike many other states, Delaware does not require home security providers to have their own outside administrators who monitor the systems. This means that security alarms in the state can directly contact the police if they go off. However, Delaware’s primary law regulating the industry specifies that there is no guarantee that the police will come. Just hope that a burglar doesn’t decide to make his move while your local law enforcer is on a coffee break. This may be one of those rare scenarios where having a security system that is monitored by a third party (the provider) could lead to better police response times.
As with almost every state in existence, Delaware is very concerned with false alarms. Now, we know those of you in Delaware are not jumpy. But false alarms do happen, sometimes something that looked or sounded like a burglar can turn out to be the neighbor’s cat. Delaware lays out very distinctly what is and is not considered a false alarm. Many of the things causing false alarms that some residents in other states might have to worry about (storms blowing doors open, power outages resetting systems), you wonderful Delaware citizens do not. Delaware’s list of what won’t land you with a fine is fairly long. That said, yes, Delaware does dabble in fines for false alarms. However, the state is fairly light with them, and the most you’ll pay is $250 after 7 fines in a calendar year. Some states (such as Virginia, where fines can reach up to $3000 in certain cities) will not only impose hefty fines, but will also revoke your registration and refuse to come after too many false alarms. Delaware is a much kinder place for both home security providers and their customers. Probably because its residents are so kind themselves.
Home Security Camera Laws in Delaware
With so many people packed so tightly into such a small space, we won’t judge those of you in Delaware who want to put up a few security cameras. Good fences make good neighbors, but good cameras will certainly let those neighbors (and burglars) know that you’re watching what they’re doing on your property. Delaware is one of several states that have laws against putting up security cameras in private places. What defines a private place? This is anywhere someone might consider private. Unfortunately, this could mean that someone walking just outside of your property on the sidewalk could make an argument (however weak) that the sidewalk is a private place.
Your best bet with security cameras in Delaware is to make sure they are visible and only point toward your property. If they even come close to picking up anything that is not your property, you’re going to want to adjust them so that at no point do they record any video from your neighbor’s yard. We know that you’re good, honest, moral, decent people. However, it almost goes without saying that pointing security cameras directly at your neighbor’s house is a no go. It doesn’t matter if that area is your neighbor’s back yard. Technically speaking, any place that does not belong to you, could be considered “private” to others in some scenarios.
So what about security cameras inside of your home? This is a bit of a tricky issue. Because Delaware’s law specifies that it is illegal to spy on anyone when they have an expectation of privacy, one could make the argument that someone could have expectations of privacy even when they are inside of your home. “Nanny cams” are increasingly finding popularity in many homes, particularly with individuals who want to ensure that their in-home childcare provider isn’t mistreating their children or stealing items from the house. Most courts have agreed that someone who is a guest in your home has no reasonable expectation of privacy. This still depends on where you have the camera located. If you do go for having a camera inside of your home, try to avoid the temptation to become YouTube famous. Make sure your cameras are only pointed at the most public locations, and never in bedrooms or bathrooms.
As with most other states, if you have a camera that has audio recording capabilities, you’re going to want to do one of two things: Either get a new camera, or just turn that audio off. The sweet siren song of your neighbor’s conversation might be good popcorn material, but it’s also likely to land you with a felony if they find out you’re listening. Even those coveted nanny cams can land you in trouble if you pick up a conversation you were never meant to hear, no matter how risqué or incriminating. So, fight the urge to find out all of the spicy, dramatic details you might possibly overhear. “Eavesdropping” laws are pretty severe, and could easily put an accidental felony right into your lap.
Safety During Natural Disasters
You Delaware residents are some of the luckiest people in the country! Not only is Delaware beautiful, but it’s also one of the safest places to live. At least, as far as natural disasters go, anyway. Delaware has some of the fewest deaths caused by natural disasters in the entire country. That goes for property damage too. We don’t know what you’re doing up there in Delaware, but natural disasters seem to stay as far away from you as possible. The only natural disasters that are common in the state are exactly the ones that you’d expect: floods, Northeasters (or “Nor’easters”, for you Delaware residents), and severe winter weather. The Delaware Geological Survey, in its efforts to scare your pants off, provides very detailed information on some of the common natural disasters affecting the state. The summary? Nor’easters are going to be the death of us all! Ok, perhaps that’s a bit of a stretch, but for you residents in Delaware, there are a few things you’ll want to do when and if these natural disasters do occur.
Northeasters are one of the biggest concerns for Delaware residents. You’ll want to know what to do in the case that these storms occur. Northeasters are strong storms that blow up the coast and can cause extremely strong winds and massive waves. Flooding is the most common concern with these storms, which are often severe enough to blow even Mary Poppins off course. In the case that one does occur, make sure you are treating it like you would when expecting a flood to happen. Pay close attention to emergency radio and television stations. Pay attention to water levels. Have emergency supplies ready, and make sure to point your car in the direction it needs to go to help you escape. In the case where you find yourself stuck in your house during a flood, just remember: This is not the perfect fishing or boating scenario. Get to high ground, even if that high ground is the top floor, or even top of, your house. Flood waters can rise quickly and unpredictably.
Winter weather is also a major concern in the Delaware region. While Delaware residents won’t be dipping into ice lakes as much as their more northern neighbors in states like Maine and upstate New York, winter can still be as harsh and cruel as any evil stepmother. Make sure your winter weather preparations are in order. This includes having a good supply of firewood in the case that the power goes out. Have spare blankets and clothes, as well as potable water and food that can be eaten without needing to be heated. Know the signs of hypothermia as well.
Delaware may be one of the smallest states, but it thankfully is not trying to overcompensate for anything. For Delaware, having a small size does not equate to a small existence. If population growth numbers are any indication, Delaware might well explode at the seams with all of the people flocking to call the state home. But with so many people taking up residence, it does make the state a friendlier place for ne’er-do-wells like burglars who would rather steal than work. If you are in Delaware or planning to move there, just remember: your neighbor might be closer than you want him to be, but he’s no security blanket for your home.