Reviews & Comments
Montana, MTWanting to move and have questions
Hello! I’m looking for some input regarding relocating to MT. I’m currently living in SC, but grew up in CA. I am a stay at home mom and my husband works in banking. We have a family of 4 including 2 young children.
I’m interested in moving to MT for recreational activities, access to the vast wilderness & wildlife, getting back to more a western culture/values, equestrian sports, and getting in touch with my great grandfather’s history in the state.
Currently where we live in the south in our nice socioeconomic mixed neighborhood, we’re faced with nightly shootings, drive bys, armed robberies, murders, and car break-ins. So my biggest motivation is finding a town/neighborhood to move to that is safe for my family.
Although I’m highly interested in an area that provides the ability to hike, swim, hunt, and just be outdoors. As a kid in CA I was afforded the ability to explore the canyons and deserts around me and I’m really like to get my kids outside and freedom to free play in their immediate area that they don’t have here.
I also would love to know about schools. Which to avoid like the plague and whose got the most quality teachers and programs. Currently, even though we live in a nice neighborhood in a high crime city, Our children attend one of the highest rated award winning elementary schools in the state. I have a child that has a learning disability, so if anyone has recommendations for individual schools or districts, I am all ears.
We really would enjoy having a few acres of privacy with an older home and not a cookie cutter house in the newer developments I am seeing advertised all over real estate pages. Are there a particular areas that could be ideal to look to find a home?
I appreciate all feed back possible given :)
South Carolina, SCAs real as a review as you’ll ever get
As a 20 year resident of South Carolina, I can say, that it unfortunately as a whole isn’t the hospitable, friendly, nice, safe, or the wonderful picture many people paint it or believe it to be.
Most of the things that people enjoy about this state are tourist attractions or once a year festivals- and yes, most of those are very nice. However, everyday life in SC isn’t all that great.
In many aspects the problems in the cities are the same problems in the cute small towns. Both have their problem residents that steal, have violent altercations, and use/peddle drugs.
The politics are a mess and it greatly impacts the quality of everything here negatively. Tons and tons of poverty in every county. Real lack of supportive social services for those experiencing hardships, the homelessness, or mentally illness. Roads are literally falling apart. Most public water systems are not safe to drink. Counsels appointed for cities, utilities, and schools are corrupt- giving contracts out to friends/businesses individual counsel members or their spouses have stakes in; allowing utility companies to raise rates despite embezzlement/failed projects; and many upon many of scandals involving misappropriating tax dollars.
Most progressive mentalities exist only within certain pockets of metro areas. You’re likely to find racism, sexism, and homophobia still runs rampant here if you leave that little bubble. Although, many of the local “woke” white liberals haven’t actually had much experience/exposure outside of their white southern social world, culture, and cohorts. So, southern liberals can also be extremely annoying, very ignorant, fake, and actually covertly racist.
The crime is just so out of control- too many reports people ending up dead and way too many robberies with a deadly weapon taking place to feel comfortable and safe. Car theft rings and chop shops are a thing. Gangs and Human trafficking exist despite not being publicly addressed. Stealing anything and everything. Drugs are a real problem. Alcoholism and DUIs are abhorrently high here.
Right to work state which affords very little rights and protections to resident workers. Wages are very low in comparison to the rest of the US. Despite the claim of having a “low cost of living”, the average wage offered by a entry job will not afford the average person a means to live comfortably. Low cost of living in many ways is a myth. There isn’t a real industry here unless you count food and beverage industry jobs which are low paying, unstable, and typically provide no benefits.
Columbia is not the jewel of the of the S
Btw I am a resident of 20 yrs and have spent 6 years living downtown being pretty active in the local community and neighborhoods. I know a majority of the restaurant/small/entertainment business owners and have spent time being apart of the popular local social circles. I am up walking these neighborhoods with my dogs before sunrise and after sunset and see all this shady stuff going on personally, security footage of crimes on the local neighborhood pages, and hear the gunshots less than 1/2 to 2 miles from my home regularly.
People want to paint Cola better than it is and be less than honest about the real problems it faces, because they have emotional attachments, financial investments, and associate the city/people/culture with their identity.
It could be better than it is, but that would require substantial investments and complete overall of local and state politics.
Columbia, SCColumbia is not the jewel of the of the South
Do not be a deceived by past/current residences, CPD, city council, and local media Columbia has high crime rates-property and violent that are suppressed and not publicized.
They will say that crime is everywhere or normalize the idea of non-violent crime or make it seem like you’re not at high risk of experiencing it yourself. There’s this implied idea that it doesn’t happen in THIS or THAT NEIGHBORHOOD and criminals aren’t they’re actual neighbors. They say that crime only happens on the “bad” side of town or “those kinds of people don’t live here”, but these people do and each neighborhood has its unique problem residents/street.
A bulk of residents falsely believe themselves to live in a much safer and nicer place despite viewing and discussing crimes that happened during the evening/morning hours on their neighborhood pages and having the knowledge that the person on tape is the local drunk, career criminal, drug addict, local public school student, or a guest of a known trap house and knowing the name and addresses of many of the offenders featured.
If you move here, expect to have your home and car broken into. Knock-knock burglaries and car break-ins are the two most frequent crimes committed. You have people whom solicit to be hired to do yard work and use the opportunity to survey you and your home/belongings to steal from you at some point and/or harass you for money at inappropriate hours. Elementary to high school kids and adults will steal your car while it warms up, steal your packages, mail, bikes, unattended purses/wallets/phones, security cameras, porch furniture, and participate in many other scams and thefts too.
There are teens whom are high schoolers in the downtown public school system and young adults to college students that have access to a variety of fire arms. These individuals coordinate together and rob people in their downtown neighborhoods and entertainment districts.
Drive by shootings have started to to get more frequent since the pandemic. We had 3 in a row in my “nice” neighborhood in one morning. Although, shootings in general are common nightly occurrences as well as robberies with a deadly weapon. The crime statics really do speak for themselves and my review just gives context/details.
Many of the crimes are committed by local residents that are known repeat offenders or repeat juveniles that have little to no criminal/legal consequences until that age out of being a minor. It doesn't help that a lot of local residents don't report some things or seek the courts to apply punishment due to sympathy for the perpetrators.
There are known gangs In downtown Columbia that aren’t publicly addressed, but they exist.
The judicial system is a joke- a repeat offender with a rap sheet multiple pages long will be out on bail in the same week and/or given minimal sentencing. Same with juvenile offenders with unaccountable and uninvolved parents or that have older siblings/cousins whom encourage and use them to commit crimes.
Also, the local police department, Columbia Police Department is extremely understaffed and has a overwhelming sized jurisdiction. They simply do not have the manpower to provide and distribute equal coverage amongst all the downtown area and densely populated neighborhoods.
The bar scene is mostly designed for college kids and 20 somethings to encourage unhealthy behaviors/relationship with alcohol. In which individuals drink heavily and put themselves at risk or participate in risky sexual behavior and drinking and driving. There’s a real reason this state is high on the list for deadly accidents and DUIs.
The entertainment district 5 Points is right in the middle of an extremely impoverished and crime ridden area with known gang activity and a huge homeless population that poses a real danger to those unaware and/or severely intoxicated. It’s ok during daylight hours to frequent the businesses and restaurants, but not recommended at night especially by yourself- always stay in front of an open business. Only go out in big groups and account for everyone.
The Vista isn’t much better save for a few good and popular restaurants. There are still many shootings, muggings, sexual assaults, violent altercations, gang activity, and vehicle break-ins/thefts that occur in that area.
The Main Street Entertainment district is Columbia’s newer project. While it’s unique with a variety of businesses including many upscale dinning opportunities, cafes, small art galleries, hotels, corporations, ballet school, state house, and the art museum it shares the crime problem Columbia hides and a huge homeless population-many with untreated mental illnesses that do behave inappropriately and dangerously at times.
The real estate prices are over inflated for a majority of the downtown neighborhoods. This is especially true for rental units that cater to university students as their ideal tenants charging $600-$900 per bedroom and lacking any real amenities save deadbolts on each bedroom door.
Most private rental homes, duplexes, and apartments are not maintained or upgraded by our local realtors and landlords whom are nothing short of slumlords. There is seriously not one thoroughly reputable real estate management company in the area. They take advantage of and rip their renters off any way they can. Especially through taking security deposits and tenant’s ignorance regarding how to properly document move in/move out lists and problems and write leases to make tenants legally responsible for normal wear and tear and normal owner upkeep.
FYI: Students and student’s parents you are primarily what Columbia’s entire local economy depends on and you are being ripped off. I would highly suggest that college students look at new large apartments/condos building specifically built for USC students which are often insulated from a lot of the crime in the city, provide amenities for age groups, have safety protocols, and upgrades.
Public school in Columbia are pretty bad with a few exceptions. Rosewood, Brennen, and Satchel Ford are some of these shining exceptions. Many of the middle schools and high schools such as Dreher and Hand do you have a lot of student violence in it and gang activity despite raving reviews.
Be careful using the local rivers. We have companies that pollute our waterways with raw sewage, treated sewage, and chemical runoff/spills from corporations all of which can be hazardous.
Be careful when it rains. Many areas of Columbia are built in old marsh/swaps areas, are low laying, and next to a body of water. These things in addition to an inadequate storm water drainage system means severe flooding of roads, businesses, and residential property. If you live in an area prone to flooding or next to a body of water, get a flood insurance policy in addition to a rental/personal property insurance policy.
If you enjoy bicycling, jogging, walking, or running you will need to take extreme caution as the city and the mentalities of drivers within, do you not show concern for those sharing the roads with vehicles or utilizing sidewalks/crosswalks. There are some very sad reports of people being hit who were participating in recreational activity outside-most don’t survive.
Try to always wear reflective gear. Use equipment with flashing lights. Always stop and look both ways at intersections. Never assume that the car is going to stop at the stop sign or cross walk-most do a slow roll through or disregard a red light making an immediate turn. Never assume a person driving is going to stop at the white line at the intersection. Use the correct side of the road when bicycling (with traffic) or on foot (opposing traffic). Never assume that a driver sees you, will move over, or go around you. Always move to the should’s edge of the street when a vehicle approaches. Always carry self defense tools on your person and let someone know your route and when you expect to return.
Never insult or say anything negative/critical about anyone, their city, neighborhood, school, team, sport, church/beliefs, political party, hometown, SC, Columbia, community figures, local problems, confederacy, confederate flag, etc. Honor culture is the norm here and it will cause a fight, people to not like you at all, and pervasive gossip.
Columbia/Lexington/Irmo/Chapin all function as a small town and everyone knows everyone and talk about everyone to everyone. Just try to smile, nod, agree and pretend like everything’s cool.