South Carolina Home SecurityBy - 08/18/2017
If you haven’t been to Charleston in the spring, or Hilton Head in the summer, there’s a good chance you’ve never been to South Carolina. Or at least, never fully enjoyed what South Carolina has to offer. Stretching from the east coast to the Appalachians, South Carolina is a state of distinct beauty and history, and more than a little pride. Of course, with a palm tree as the primary symbol on your state flag, it’s hard not to be at least a little proud.
It’s really not surprising that South Carolina’s population has shown a slow but steady increase in the past decade. Although it has failed to match the rapid growth of its neighbors to both the north (North Carolina) and the south (Georgia), South Carolina’s most popular cities still seem to be drawing in more residents than in years past.
Counter to common thought on the matter, South Carolina’s crime rates, including property crimes, have actually fallen over the past decade , even as its population has increased. Nevertheless, the state still maintains a higher-than-average crime rate. Those living in and thinking of moving to the state should look into home security providers in South Carolina either before, or soon after making the transition.
Home Security Provider Requirements for South Carolina State
Is South Carolina a safe place to live? Yes…and no. It all depends on your perspective of “safe”. As a whole, your chances of becoming a property crime victim are about 1 in 30. This is not entirely high, but it’s certainly not low, either. By comparison, your chances of becoming a victim in New York City, which by all intents and purposes should be less safe, is 1 in 62.
In South Carolina, the safe and less-than-safe areas spread out across the state like a checkerboard. Your chances of becoming a property crime victim in Hilton Head Island are a low 1 in 65, for example, while in Charleston those chances shoot up to 1 in 38. If you decide to travel much further inland to the capital, Columbia, your chances of becoming a property crime victim explode to 1 in 18. Meanwhile, only a few miles due east of Columbia, you might land in Lugoff, where you’ll only have a 1 in 53 chance of becoming a victim.
Many South Carolina residents turn to home security providers to mitigate the situation and decrease their chances of becoming a victim. However, companies have been known to use improper business practices in the past in this particular industry. To help provide better security quality for residents, South Carolina implemented a state-level law regulating alarm companies, one of only a handful of US states to do so.
The South Carolina Alarm System Business Act does exactly what it sounds like: establishes rules and procedures that alarm companies must follow in order to conduct business in the state. For a complete idea of what this means for residents, we encourage you to do a bit of light (not really) reading. But here are a few of the salient points:
- Companies must obtain a license specific to alarm companies from the state licensing board
- Be subject to a review of business practices through the state’s review board (with the potential of a loss of license or fines in the case that a complaint is found to be legitimate)
- Renew the license every 2 years, with the understanding that the board has the right to refuse that renewal
Alarm businesses have a somewhat long list of regulations for which they must follow, and violations of any of them could result in a complaint, fine, or loss of license. This includes some, but not all, of the following:
- engaging negligence, incompetence, or misconduct in the practice of the alarm business profession;
- abandoning a job or refusing to perform a job after submitting a contract on work without a legal or a valid excuse, as determined by the board, for the abandonment or refusal;
- engaging in a wrongful or fraudulent act in the alarm business resulting in injury;
- conviction of a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude, or pleading nolo contendere to any such offense. A “felony” includes an offense committed in another jurisdiction which, if committed in this State, is a felony;
- failing to obtain a permit if required by a local or state government agency before engaging in a project;
- committing a wrongful or fraudulent act as a contractor, including the failure to pay subcontractors or suppliers after drawing payment for work or materials performed or provided by those subcontractors or suppliers;
- allowing an individual to work in the licensee’s alarm business who has access to a client’s residence or business and cannot meet the criminal background check requirements of this chapter;
In all, there are nearly two dozen points listed that specifically regulate conduct by alarm companies in South Carolina. To that end, praise for South Carolina is in order! It’s one state that takes proper business practices and consumer safety seriously. On the more local level, some cities add extra requirements, which the state law stipulates a company must also follow, or be subject to the review board.
Laws on Home Security Camera Usage
Home security cameras are an excellent way to add more coverage for your home security. But are they legal in South Carolina? Yes, yes indeed.
For this, we’ll point you to the South Carolina law on eavesdropping, peeping, and voyeurism. Section 16-17-470 of South Carolina’s Crimes and Offenses code essentially says what most other states’ law on the matter says. You cannot purposefully invade someone’s privacy, whether with your physical presence or with a digital device. This, of course, includes a home security camera, which can serve as both an audio and visual device, depending on the one that you purchase and the settings.
However, South Carolina is also a one-party consent state for electronic recording. This means you can reasonably record individuals who are in a public place without their consent. The public place aspect of this is important, as you cannot point your camera toward your neighbor’s house and assume that because the windows are open, it’s still OK.
In South Carolina, put up all the cameras you want! Just make sure they’re not in places where you might accidentally (or intentionally) record someone in a place where privacy against your spying is expected or reasonably assumed.
Safety During Natural Disasters
What does one usually associate with palm trees and sunshine? Horrible, scary weather, of course. South Carolina may be a wonderland of palms and sun, but it’s also in the danger zone for fierce storms. In particular, that means severe tropical storms, hurricanes, and the occasional winter storm (although this usually involves more ice than snow).
For South Carolina residents, safety means knowing how to stay safe when those fierce storms happen. Currently, the track record for South Carolina seems to be at least one FEMA declaration per year for one type of storm or another, although tropical storms and hurricanes seem to be far more common than anything else.
Hurricanes are one type of storm where the advice is fairly simple: Get. Out. It is unwise to try to ride out a hurricane, especially when a Category 3 hurricane or above. Even Cat 1 hurricanes typically result in a recommended evacuation, with a mandatory evacuation usually issued for those on islands, lowlands, and waterfronts. Simply put, hurricanes can lead to intense, deadly winds as well as flash flooding. There is usually no reason to try to ride these out. Retreat to safety as soon as possible and well before the storm hits.
For tropical storms, your concerns are similar to what happens with a hurricane but muted. The same impacts can occur—strong winds and flash flooding—but to a much lesser degree. Still, these storms can be damaging. If you do choose to ride these out, make sure to stay in the bottom level of your home to avoid falling debris due to strong winds. However, also be conscious of potential flooding that can impact those bottom levels of your home. Maintain extra food, water, and clothing, as well as a backup power source, such as a generator, in case the power goes out.
Winter storms in South Carolina generally require individuals to stay in place. For the most part, staying indoors will protect you from the dangers. In South Carolina, the biggest concern with winter storms is usually ice, which will form on the roads rather quickly and cause conditions that are often more dangerous than with snow. If a winter storm does arise, stay in place, make sure you have your spare clothes, food, and water, and ensure that you have backup power sources in case the power goes out.
South Carolina provides an exciting contrast between countryside, mountains, and beautiful beaches. It’s certainly no surprise that newcomers are flocking to the state. Do make sure you have your home security in place, however. Just in case.