Home Security Systems in North Dakota
North Dakota may be at the heart of political debates over oil pipelines, but the state is far more than just a place to protest. Indeed, as the 39th state to be admitted to the Union, North Dakota is still relatively “new”, with a large amount of untapped beauty — something that many ND residents may hope stays that way. The state’s relatively small population is also fairly sparse in most places, making concerns over issues such as personal safety less of an issue.
That said, North Dakota still has its own issues with crime. While it’s mostly free and clear of the types of violent crime problems that plague more populated states, property crime can still be a problem in the state’s larger cities. Fargo, for example, is not just a cult classic movie; it’s also the largest city in the state and with one of North Dakota’s highest property crime rates. Other cities, such as Minot and Grand Forks, have equally high rates, around 32 per 1,000 residents. That’s noticeably higher than the 21.26 per 1,000 residents that North Dakota averages as a state, and above the national median of 26 per 1,000.
There are options, of course. Leaving the state is one. But given the state’s growing economy and stunningly low unemployment rate, that’s probably not the best option. Instead, consider purchasing a home security system in North Dakota.
Home Security Provider Requirements for North Dakota
You may or may not like what we have to say about North Dakota’s alarm company requirements. We’ll start with the good news.
Any alarm company that intends to install your alarm system must be licensed to do the electrical work. This means obtaining an electrician’s license from the state, of which there are several different types. This is not a particularly difficult license to obtain, however, as all license holders must pass a state-administered examination. Perhaps questionably, that license does not preclude those who have prior criminal convictions. That means the person coming to install your home security system just might have a criminal conviction related to, say, burglary. Yikes.
Yes, that was actually the good news. The bad news? At the state level, there are no regulations on home security providers in North Dakota. Not even a peep coming from the state government on that issue. Normally, in such cases as this, we do find that the larger cities at least have some kind of permitting requirements, either on people who use such systems, or businesses that deal in them (or both). This is not the case for North Dakota. The state’s two largest cities, Fargo and Bismarck, have no such requirements that we could find. Grand Forks, however, came through for us. In that city, both alarm installers and alarm users need to contact the city’s Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) to find out information about licensing. While they provide no information online on what this means, we can at least verify that a license is required, and, given that, some limitations will apply.
This boils down to one thing: In North Dakota, you’re going to need to contact your local government for more details. The issue does not appear to take center stage, so you’ll want to vet your home security providers yourself. The state, and most of the cities, simply aren’t going to do it for you. Many of the home security providers we’ve rated, including FrontPoint, offer their service in North Dakota.
Erecting Home Security Cameras
As lenient as North Dakota is on security providers, it’s also fairly lenient for individuals who want to protect their homes.
It all boils down to this: Don’t use your security camera in nefarious ways. This means don’t violate privacy laws by using your camera to try to record someone in the nude and don’t hide your camera in places in your own home where it might invade someone’s privacy, especially without giving proper notice that the area is being recorded.
In particular, you may be guilty of a misdemeanor if your camera is pointing toward and recording the activity inside someone else’s home. However, even here the North Dakota government gives you some leeway. If you receive a warning about where your cameras are pointing (e.g., they’re capturing your neighbors playing ping-pong in the living room), you’ll have seven days to change your camera position, remove the camera, or tape over it so as to prevent it from spying. If you do so within that grace period, no charges will be filed.
Additionally, North Dakota is a one-party consent state for recording. If you’re not a part of the conversation, you may want to avoid capturing audio. This means you might want to shut off audio recording for any outdoor cameras but keep the audio on for indoor cameras. (This, of course, excludes two-way communication on cameras that turns on only when requested.)
Safety During Natural Disasters
North Dakotans know a few things are always true about the state: Winter is cold, cold, cold, and summers come with rain, flooding, and a fair number of hailstorms. None of these are ever fun to live through, especially hail. In 2016, hail the size baseballs ravaged parts of the state, while floods and winter storms are among the most common causes for emergency FEMA declarations.
What can a North Dakotan do to make it through all of this rough-and-tumble weather? Preparedness, on all fronts.
For winter storms, make sure you have your emergency supplies ready: extra food, water, warm clothes, blankets, and an extra fuel source. That extra fuel source, such as heating oil, wood, or gas, is going to be extremely important. It may also be a good idea to invest in a generator, as this may help keep some heat sources going during the winter should the power go out.
For floods, make sure you are following general flood procedures. Keep your emergency supplies ready, but also pay attention to forecasts and flood warnings. Know your flood emergency escape routes, and during heavy storms that can lead to floods, stay in the upper levels of your home until and unless you need to evacuate.
Hail storms, however, are a different monster. Do not, we repeat, do not go outside during a hail storm. You may even want to avoid staying anywhere near windows. If your roof is suspect, stay in the lower levels or even basement area of your home, if you have one. Large hail can break through windows quite easily and cause massive damage.
Crazy weather aside, North Dakota is a great place to live. With the lowest unemployment rate in the country, many people are starting to realize that the Roughrider State is perhaps not as rough as it appears on the outside. Still, a good home security system can help smooth out some of those sharp edges.