White-collarcrime is described as nonviolent crimes that are motivated byfinancial gain. This type of crime occurs in financial transactionsand include embezzlement, bank fraud, extortion, insurance fraud,price fixing, falsification of financial records and insider buyingjust to name a few. White-collar crimes include corporate crime andoccupational crime (Ferguson 55). In occupational crimes,professionals are responsible for this type of crimes with employersbenefiting in some cases such as insurance fraud. There is aprobability of an increase in White-collar crimes in future due tosome social and technological changes in the world. Therefore,harsher punishments should be implemented in order to reduce corruptactivities and deter repeat of White-collar crimes. Additionally,resources to deal with white crime should be equal or more than theamount spent to curb other conventional crimes.
Incontrast, Street crimes are horrific, more visible, direct andinvolve violence toward the individual victim. This kind of crimeincludes theft, burglary, assault and rape and more likely to becommitted by individuals from lower social classes. This type ofcrime is emotional and can ruin the victim’s life forever. The maindifference between the two types of crime is the lack of violence.However, compared to Street crime, White-collar crime is more viciousbecause an action by one or few corrupt individuals can have animpact on livelihoods of thousands or millions of people. This paperwill focus on both Street Crime and White Collar Crime and determinewhich is more serious.
Firstdetection of White collar crimes and other corporate frauds can bevery challenging for the main reason that many offenses arenon-self-revealing plus the victims, and the offender never comeface-to-face. The crimes are not obvious, and the offenders leave novisible traces of their happenings. As a matter of fact, withoutinvestigations, White collar crimes become impossible to detect.Moreover, many White-collar crimes result from collective actions bya group of individuals, making it hard to point out specificindividual or individuals to be held accountable. For this reason, itmay not be clear which individual is responsible for a specificoffense, and thus prosecutors in such case become reluctant to bringthe case to a trial. Additionally, due to the complex nature ofWhite-collar crimes, securing a conviction in the court processbecomes hard because the prosecutor may not be able to prove beyondany reasonable doubt the guiltiness of an individual. Besides,securing convictions in white-collar crimes cases may be hard becausetypically the defendant can access a strong defense counsel. This isin contrast to Street Crimes such as theft, robbery and assault thatare direct, obvious and leave evidence of their occurrences. Sadly,Street offender cannot afford the services of the best defenselawyers compared to their counterparts involved in White-collar crime(Leap 127).
Economicand social impact
Todetermine the crime, which is more, serious between White-collar andStreet crime some factors have to be considered. These factorsinclude the ripple effect and cost of the damage, the probability ofvictims recovering from the crime, and the probability of victimsgetting justice. White-collar offending has a specific impact onvictims and ranges from financial losses to physical and mentalhealth damages. The most prominent is the loss of revenue. Typically,White-collar crimes become associated with financial losses, andsometimes it may be not difficult to calculate the cost of this kindof offense. However, the effect varies with individuals. Forinstance, an investment fraud may result in clearing out of aperson’s life savings while another may only loose a nominalamount. White-collar crime costs in America happen to add up tobillions of dollars. Economically, this kind of crime have a hugeimpact on the society, for example, the housing bubble in 2008plunged the nation’s economy into a recession, and making this goon record as the worst in American history’s (Friedrichs 10).
Maybe,the social impacts are the most damaging effects and include loss ofpublic trust. White-collar crimes become associated with significantbreach of trust. Violation of trust has some effect beyond the directlosses incurred by the victims of this crime. White-collar crimeserode public morality and making citizens lose confidence in thepolitical institutions of the nations as well as, its processes andleaders. For example, violations of trust by people in highgovernment positions and the corporate world will likely increasedistrust to the extent the public become cynical, and therelationship between them may be weak.
Theother devastating impact that results from corporate crime is jobloss. While the top executives mostly commit most White-collarcrimes, unfortunately, it is the innocent employees who often sufferthe biggest loss. For instance, when WorldCom became bankrupt in theyear 2002 after getting involved in fraudulent bookkeepingactivities, almost 33,000 employees lost their jobs. The rippleeffect in turn affected the entire telecommunication industry.Clearly, the total sum of the devastating cost of White-collaroffending is difficult to make, and no punishment or repayment cancover the losses that result from this kind of crime. Additionally,another devastating impact of White-collar in the health care sectoris that it may result in consumers paying higher prices due toinsurance fraud. Health care fraud in America is on the rise asconsumers continue to pay higher premiums to restore the money lostin the systems. Furthermore, health care fraud is more likely toresult in people losing their lives, and savings. Alternatively,White-collar crime also causes physical harm to the society.According to Sutherland, Kip and David, report shows that the toxicair pollution in the U.S affect about 85% of the population, and thisis a large number almost ten times that people victimized by othercrimes. In American alone, air pollution causes nearly 70,000 deaths(Sutherland, Kip and David 361).
Similarly,street crimes have a range of consequences on victims. This includesfinancial loss such as theft or property damage and physical ormental injuries. The impact of street crimes may be small orsignificant. However, Street crime often affects one family or asmall portion of the society. For example, only people in asurrounding region will probably hear of a murder, mugging that tookplace in a certain region, depending on the local media coverage(Pontell and Gilbert 169).
Perceptionsof white-collar seriousness
Intheir article, Leeper Piquero, Carmichael, and Piquero, argue thatearlier research conducted to determine the seriousness ofWhite-collar crime show that the public viewed the crimes as notserious compared to Street crime. However, later research showing acomparison between the seriousness between White-collar crime andStreet crime suggest that the earlier conclusion of White crime beingnot serious may have been inappropriate. The research comparing thetwo crimes found that respondents perceived four out of sixassessments of White-collar crime as more serious than Street crimes,with the remaining perceived as equally serious. Furthermore,organizational crimes that resulted from deaths and other injurieswere perceived as more serious compared to other crimes. For example,certain white collar crimes that involve the manufacture of unsafeproducts and sale of contaminated food were observed and perceived asworse compared to street crimes such as armed robbery. Therefore,resources to deal with White-collar crime should be equal or morethan the amount spent to curb Street crime (Leeper Piquero,Carmichael and Piquero 293).
Clearly,White-collar crime is a form of social deviance that causes a hugeproblem compared to street crime due to its impact. The hugefinancial impact ranging from millions to trillion dollars onbusinesses and the society can make this kind of crime far morewidespread. When a certain organization shuts down as a result ofcriminal actions, employees at all levels become unemployed whileinvestors lose their money, and consumers get upset, and the companymay also face litigation issues. White-collar crime involves hugeripple effects that range from job losses, consumer price increase,court costs, stock price decrease and other costs associated with thecrime. In addition, elite-level criminal with resources engage inWhite-collar jobs and usually end up getting very lenient punishmentswhile others go without punishment. Obviously, White-collar crime hasan enormous impact due to its wide range of impacts not only inmonetary terms but public harm. Without a doubt, it is impossible tocapture the real cost that results from White collar crime.White-collar crimes huge economic consequences for taxpayers andconsumers become obscured by the usual aggregate calculation ofcosts. However, studying the ripple effects demonstrates thedisastrous impact of this kind of crime. Compared to Street crimewhere only close families or only the surrounding community feel theimpacts, White-collar crime can be national or global. Occasionally,the direct impact of White collar crime on individuals may be quitesmall, specifically as few victims become implicated but may end upaffecting millions of persons (Imana 17).
White-collarcrime has been associated with a number of economic and socialconsequences. Thus, these crimes can be considered more serious thanStreet crimes because of their impact on the society. This paper hasanalyzed some of the devastating impacts of White-collar crimes tothe economy of a nation. Obviously, from the internet one can see howcorporate crime has gone out of control and its massive economicdestruction to many citizens. White- collar criminals abuse theirpower, position, fiduciary duties and wealth to commit crimesdifficult to detect. For this reason, they should be discontinued anddeterred from committing the same offenses in the future. Although,it is hard to target and defeat White-collar crimes because of itslikelihood resurface occasionally, but due to the extent of itsdamages criminals deserve a harsher punishment, in order to deterothers and create a positive change in the society (Gerald Cliff &Christian Desilets 22).
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