Why has white collar crime been less thoroughly studied than conventional crime?
According to fbi.gov, white collar crime can be defined in a nutshell as lying, cheating and stealing. According to reports, the term was coined in 1939. In today’s world, the term “White collar crime” can be said to be synonymous to all forms of fraud perpetrated by government and business professionals. (FBI.GOV). it refers to all non-violent crimes that are financially motivated perpetrated within the business and government community. White collar crime has been less thoroughly studied than conventional crime due to the fact that white collar crimes occur in several forms and in a lot of professions. Even though there are some commonalities, they are not spread evenly across industries or occupations, and their differences outweighs this commonalities. For instance, the kind of white collar crimes found in the healthcare industry is not the same as the type found in the clothing industry. Surprisingly, even within the same industry, the type of white collar crime that occur is very diverse. This diversity of white collar crime makes it an enormous burden on the government, it makes it difficult to be thoroughly studied and also makes it difficult to curb.
Going through history, it is rather obvious that the attitude of the community towards white collar crimes have been increasingly punitive. At first, as a result of necessity, the contemporary society made legislations which has been specifically designed to control the economic and also political activities. This legislations are usually aimed at the powerful social classes. However, it has become obvious that the conventional laws involving other forms of crimes are inapplicable today in several ways, which also include the white collar crimes.
Meier & Short (1984 ) have shown that not only do citizens view white collar crime as serious, they rate being victimized by white collar offenses as more likely than being victimized by other life hazards, including common crime.
Social commentators have often observed in the past that the public is indifferent to white-collar criminality. However, the growing attention that white-collar crime has received in recent years raises the possibility of changes in the public's perceptions of such violations. By considering the society’s reactions towards the Oliver Stone’s wall-street and their reaction after the Bernie Madoff’s rip-off, it is quite obvious that relative to other forms of crime, white-collar crime has increased in seriousness more than any other category of crime, but surprisingly, it is still perceived as less serious relative to most forms of illegality. When several white-collar crime were analyzed, it was discovered that there is a considerable variation in the society’s ratings, the society attributes a degree of seriousness attributed to offenses that involves physical harm. (Friedrich 2002).
Donald J. Newman. White-Collar Crime. 734-753. Accessed 21 February 2014.
Friedrichs, David O. (2002). Occupational Crime, Occupational Deviance, and Workplace Crime. Criminal Justice, 2(3): 243-256.
Fbi.gov. White Collar Crime. The Federal Bureau of Investigation. U.S. Department of Justice. http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/white_collar