White Collar Crime

Essay by drgrifterUniversity, Bachelor'sA, December 2003

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The idea behind "white-collar" crime and what it is can be quite confusing. "White-collar" crime is largely understandable in terms of routine activities and crime opportunities. It is difficult to determine who falls under the title of a "white-collar" criminal. Typically, they are found in various professional, corporate, and government settings. The single general feature of "white-collar" offenders was their specialized access to crime targets by way of work, or organizational position.

A generalization such as this could cover a wide array of offenses such as: fixing prices, cheating pension funds, faking insurance claims, manipulating stocks, and enticing bribes. Felson believes that we should appropriately rename "white-collar" crime to crimes of specialized access because they provide offenders with practical routes to their targets. It is the alleged 'legitimacy' of the work role that provides a chance at committing misdeeds. Friedrichs further suggests some of the many motives behind crimes of specialized access, most commonly material gain.

The drive behind most of these crimes are to obtain power, sex, friendship, approval, excitement, revenge, avoiding retaliation, or evading chores.

So who is committing these crimes types? Popular images have African American people being poor and committing more violent offenses, while the white people are supposed to be members of the middle class and carry out extreme "white-collar" offenses. While this is common thought in America, empirical evidence illustrates that offenders in all racial and socioeconomic groups commit mainly humble and ordinary crimes, such as shoplifting, burglary or driving under the influence. A high percentage of people in trouble for 'fancy' crimes are white, at the same time, a very low percentage of white offenders are in trouble for 'fancy' crimes. A lot of our influence from the media causes us to believe...