Many Missoulians take great pride in their flower garden and lilac bushes, so why do people think it's ok to trespass on their property and pick them? It's not.

This one is really mind-boggling. Maybe it's because I was born and raised in Montana, and have always been held to a higher standard (in my opinion) when it comes to respecting your neighbors and fellow community members. Summer in Missoula is absolutely awesome, and one of my favorite parts of the year is seeing the lilacs bloom. I'm dead serious. Maybe it's a subconscious alert in my brain saying that the sun is finally on its way. Now that they are in full bloom, many people are flat-out disrespecting the property owners.

Many complaints around town have been voiced of people trespassing on their property to pick/cut the bushes, and even going into their flower gardens and picking what they please. It's even gained traction on the local Missoula subreddit. This is not only very uncool, but it's also illegal. The Missoula criminal trespass ordinance is described as:

A person commits the offense of criminal trespass to property if the person knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in an occupied structure; or enters or remains unlawfully in or upon the premises of another.

Trespassing can come with a heavy fine of up to $500 or even up to 6 months in jail. That might be the luckiest option for someone sneaking onto private property and vandalizing/stealing property. You see in Montana, we're pretty particular about our private property and possessions. It wouldn't surprise me at all to read about a landowner taking matters into their own hands if this gets serious enough.

I don't want to pin this all on out-of-state transplants, we've always had this problem, but from what I've heard it's gotten much worse as of late. So if you're new to Montana, and you're reading this, please keep in mind this is a wonderful state built on respect for your neighbors and community members. Let's keep it that way.

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