Looking for the easy life? Then let Montana just pass you on by. Beautiful, exotic, and full of mostly unspoiled wilderness, Montana is one state that invites adventure, but only from the truly adventurous. You can often measure a state by its fun sayings, and Montanans are one bunch that love their unique phrases. When the mercury drops, it’s “colder’n a banker’s heart.” When the rain starts falling hard, it’s “raining like a cow peeing on a flat rock.” And when something is particularly difficult, it’s “harder than milking a grizzly.”
There are some things that aren’t that hard in Montana, despite the toughness of the environment and the people. Finding a good home security provider is one of them. Although it’s easy to think that most Montanans might resort to their Second Amendment rights to defend their homes (Montana is #2 in gun ownership in the U.S., just behind Wyoming), few people in Montana are home all the time. Thankfully, home security providers are well regulated in the state.
Home Security Provider Requirements for Montana
Before you start: Yes, we realize there are some inherent issues with having a security alarm system in an extremely rural state. Montana has the third lowest population density in the U.S., with only 7.1 people per square mile. In many places in Montana, you have to drive a good long time before you see any of your neighbors (unless, of course, you count wildlife as your neighbors). Nevertheless, even if the police response time to a home security system is slower than it might be in a highly dense and populated area, there are still many advantages to getting a system in Montana. One of which is the fact that Montana has the industry well regulated.
All home security providers that want to do business in Montana must obtain a license specifically designed for home security providers and security professionals. According to Montana’s Code Title 17, “It is unlawful for any unlicensed person to act as, pretend to be, or represent to the public that the person is licensed as a private investigator, a contract security company, a proprietary security organization, or a private security guard.” This wording covers home security providers, meaning that any company or individual acting as a home security company under false pretenses will soon find themselves thrown to the grizzlies.
Any home security provider operating in Montana must also be licensed to actually install the electrical work as well. This requirement was added to Montana’s legal code in 2007 , which is fairly recent but is still fully supported by law. Any home security provider that is not properly licensed is guilty of a misdemeanor.
Do Montanans really have to worry about property crime? You bet. Believe it or not, Montana’s property crime rate is slightly above the national average. Montanans have a 1 in 38 chance of becoming a property crime victim. Unsurprisingly, the higher concentrations are in the state’s larger cities, such as Billings, Great Falls, Missoula, Bozeman, and Helena. Nevertheless, some smaller cities, such as Kalispell, also have higher-than-average property crime rates. Thankfully, anyone in Kalispell and most other places in Montana can find reputable home security services.
Video Surveillance in Montana
If you’re interested in watching a few bison pass by while you’re away, you might want to put up a security camera or two. In Montana, this is easily done, as long as you stay on the right side of Montana’s recording laws. According to Montana Code 45-5-223, you can place recording devices (.e.g., security cameras) around your home, so long as you aren’t placing them in locations that purposefully invade someone’s privacy.
The state uses the wonderful phrase “Surreptitious visual observation or recordation” to explain what they mean. It’s fairly easy to stay on the right side of this law, however, and given Montana’s rather low population density, it’s actually very easy to avoid having security cameras that point into a neighbor’s window. That said, take extra precautions when you’re putting up your security cameras.
While we’re sure you won’t try to check out your neighbors with your security cameras, it’s a good warning to have nonetheless. Considering the first level offense is $500 and/or 6 months in prison, and three or more offenses could land you in jail for 5 years, it’s probably in your best interest to double-check your camera’s position after putting them in place.
Safety During Natural Disasters
Montana is a fairly disparate state. What concerns residents in one part of the state might not be a concern for those in another part. Nevertheless, there’s a major concern that most Montanans share, and it isn’t the local wildlife. It’s major snowstorms and thunderstorms.
Montana is prone to blizzards and bad snowstorms, averaging several feet of snow each year while receiving harsh winds during the spring, summer, and fall. The state’s geographic location, including its many mountainous regions, can make the weather erratic at times, and at times downright dangerous. While most people in Montana know how to handle the cold, wind, and rain, newcomers might find the task a bit daunting.
During the winter, make sure you have alternative energy sources. Wood for fires, or a full supply of gas and oil. You may also want to invest in solar panels and a good gas-powered generator. These items will help keep you warm should the power go out, and help ensure you have access to necessary equipment until help arrives. You’ll also want to stock up on food, water, warm clothing, blankets, and make sure you have protection.
When it comes to storm weather, Montanans can be grateful that tornadoes are not common. Nevertheless, harsh winds are, and power outages can leave one without power for long periods of time. Make sure you carry over those survival tools for winter into the other seasons as well, especially the power generators.