A number of criminologists argue with compelling insight and data that the worst crimes are white collar crimes. They assert that “crimes in the suites are more costly, more numerous and cause more harm than crime in the streets. Various criminologists argued that white-collar crimes and the seriousness of the offence and their response to crime needed to be valuated (Blumstein and Coaen, 1980; Carlson and Williams, 1983; Cullen et al., 1985).
White-collar crime is an umbrella term used to describe unlawful activity, such as embezzlement, fraud, bribery, or theft. Committing criminal acts within a corporation is unlawful; however, street crimes have similar effects because they, like white collar offenses, disrupt social cohesion via criminal activity. Several researchers have addressed this matter because of the violence that happens when people are victims of a white collar crime or street crime. This can make one believe that a street crime is far worse than a white collar crime; however criminologists argue white collar crimes cause more deaths and street crimes are misjudged. (Cullen et al., 2009; Grabosky et al., 187; Hauber et al., 1988; Numan, 1976; Rossi et al., 1974).
When looking at white-collar crime, which some perceive as a serious offence, this is based on a the consensus by society. Society analyzes these issues because of the seriousness of the crime and the number of deaths that occurred, and is related to the same offence, and cause an unexpected life change (Michel et al., 2015).
According to the department of criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Tampa, there are over three hundred thousand citizens who die as a result of white collar crime (UCR, 2018). These deaths are calculated with in a years’ time. This figure includes the number of employees who died as a result and have physical or mental issues as a result of the infraction. Many companies are the blame and are responsible due to the lack of safety compliance. For example, people exposed to toxic waste, deadly pollution, and companies that distributes faulty products. They also are responsible for commercializing addictive substances and lack of medical services (Herbert & Landrigan, 2000; Kramer, 1984).
Comparatively, there have been over 14 thousand criminal homicides that happen because of street crimes (Michel et al., 2015). Since street crimes are a punitive offense towards the law, just as committing a white collar crime, public opinion has addressed its concerns about upper world criminality that has undoubtedly become more negative in the past 40 years (Michel et al., 2015). There is lack of objective proof to indicate that there is a disproportionately greater concern about crimes related to street crimes. Researchers noted in their review of public opinion and their attitude about white collar crime based on a 3-prong evolution founded on the public’s viewpoints focusing on the first half of the 20th century (Ross, 1907).
There was rising attention from the late 1970s to the 2000s after many cases were brought about because of the Watergate scandal and the savings and loan debacle (Cullen et al., 1982). There were also the criminal acts with the Enron, WorldCom disaster, and Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi schemes (Holtfreter et al., 2008; Huff et al., 2010). The legal defense for these businesses was downplaying the importance of these elite offenses. Subjects in previous studies argue and view these crimes as serious as a street crime. Committing these offences allowed our legal system to consider tough punishments on the perpetrators (Calavita et al., 1997; Friedrichas, 2010; Maddan et al., 2012).
These findings had to be viewed and changes were made in the best interest of the public with their hardening attitude towards white collar crimes. Thus white collar crimes are just as violent as a street crime Michel et al., 2015). The assumption is that our legal system has overlooked sanctions on white collar crimes as if it was a petty theft in the past. The National White Collar crime center, a congressional funded non-profit organization, has been observing Americans in the last five years and their attitude towards crime. The analysis revealed the seriousness impact of white collar financial crime; for example: Fraud, embezzlement, bribery, unnecessary repair, selling tainted meat, and false insurance claims. These crimes cost business investors and corporations a substantial amount of revenue (Kane & Wall, 2006; Piquero et al., 2008).
Perhaps a consequence of violent street crime does result in a greater leniency towards perpetrators described in the white collar crimes. This limitation allows one to have control on various levels of harm intensity. According to Michel (2015), criminologists noted in series of short scenarios related to two street crimes, such as burglary and assault, along with several different types of white-collar crimes. With the street crimes, for example, identity theft, embezzlement, and false charges, the participants were asked to compare the seriousness of each crime defined in these scenarios with a base of wrongdoing illustrating violent car theft. The participant’s answers were surprising, because the survey indicated that the most serious crimes were white-collar crimes (Rebovich et al., 2000; Dower, 2003; Michel et al., 2015).
White collar crimes are underrepresented in the criminological and criminal justice literature relative to traditional street crimes. Unfortunately, many or most people who are victims of white collar crimes are not even aware of being victimized and they often do not even report the crime to the proper authorities (Friedrichs et al., 2010; Cullen & Benson, 1993). White collar crimes are quite serious offences in nature, causing greater loss of life, illnesses, injuries, and along with economic losses greater than street crimes combined. White collar crimes are committed routinely throughout a broad range of the United States (UCR, 2012).
According to a survey by McGurrin et al. and Western Criminology Review, the survey revealed nearly one in four households (24%) and 1 in 6 individuals (17%) experience an average of 1.3 WCC victimization during 2010 (Huff, Desilets, & Kane 2011). However, according to Barnett (2000), white collar crimes merely represent a diminutive that is less than 4% of the occurrence reported to the FBI. By the notable allowance of identity theft, the Bureau of Justice Statistic; National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), which collects families and personal victimization data, this does not include white collar crimes.
However, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) documented a 27% increase in consumer complaints between 2007-2009 involving identity theft, fraud, and other criminalities against consumers. According to Huff et al. (2011), being unbiased in 2009 alone notes that 1.9 million complaints were written to the Consumers Sentinel Data base (CCD),which addressed the large number of total losses of 1.7 billion dollars from victims alone (Huff et al., 2011).Subsequently, even if we can think that the public is recognizing that white collar criminals are capable of calculated endangerment for profit, they might still evoke the image of nicer and temperate offenders (Perri, 2011).
However, when you compare them with culprits of violent street crimes, you have to recognize the literature surrounding white collar crime and the public’s viewpoint. For example, comparing the perceived seriousness towards physically harmful white collar crimes with violent street crimes that cause physical injury, death, or illness, one would only view the latter of the offence (Michele et al., 2015). Even though the United States has experienced some astonishing corporate crime waves in the early part of the 2000s and in the latter part of the decade, we hypothesize that WCC continues to be under represented in criminological scholarship, as well as in textbooks, and PH.D. programs (Mcgurrin et al., 2013).
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