There are so many reasons to live in a fraternity or sorority house, right? There are the parties, friends, parties, activities, parties, shared responsibilities, and of course, parties. There are, however, a few disadvantages to living the Greek Life, and you need to be aware of how to protect yourself.
Crimes committed on campus aren’t the same as crimes committed in the real world. Campus security frequently handles theft and crime instead of the real police. Perpetrators often go before deans or disciplinary committees instead of a courtroom, and their crimes, if punished, are never on a criminal record. When you add alcohol into the equation, it’s no wonder crime runs rampant and goes unreported on many college campuses.
According to the American Society of Safety Engineers, there are an average of 150 fraternity and sorority house fires every year, causing around $580,000 in property damage per fire. The leading cause is Arson, with cooking coming in at a close second, most of which occur during the evenings and on weekends. FEMA reports that these fires are responsible for about 10 deaths per year. Living in a sorority or fraternity house can be a dangerous and expensive proposition.
It is easier for underage students to get alcohol in a Greek house than it is when you live in a dorm. Students can get creative about throwing parties and finding excuses to drink to excess. Unfortunately, when everyone is drinking, no one is paying attention to those who may have had too much. At least one student has died every year for the past 40 years from hazing rituals due to alcohol, and nearly 2000 students die each year from alcohol related injuries. Most of these students are underage.
Even if you don’t drink to excess, set off the smoke alarm when you cook, or commit crimes, when you live in a fraternity or sorority house, you are surrounded by people who may not be careful about who they let into the house. During parties, there are always strangers around. You could do everything right, but your laptop could be stolen, you could be assaulted, or your property could get damaged in a fire if an accident happens.
If you live in a Greek house, you need to work together to make sure safety is a top priority. Wireless security systems are a great way to go because they can give you flexibility and convenience without having to drill a single hole in a wall (which can be a problem in old mansions and brownstones). And some wireless security companies, like LifeShield, offer house managers the ability to monitor and control security and safety from a secure website.
Frat brothers and sorority sisters can keep the home secure and use iPhone and Android apps to arm and disarm the system when they come and go. Security cameras can keep track of visitors around the sorority or fraternity house.
It’s time to make sure you take an active role in safety at your college. Universities have no incentive to keep accurate crime statistics because it will deter students from attending the school. Fraternity membership often includes codes of silence, demands for loyalty, and the risk of retaliation. With little public oversight and lenient penalties, it’s no wonder campus crime goes unchecked. It’s up to you to make sure your Greek years are safe and memorable.
Photo Credit: jmcneil