White Collar Crime vs. Blue Collar Crime

The definition of crime itself has long been the topic of debate. Semantics, the nature of crime committed, its motives and their collective importance pale in comparison to their result – harm. Whether the harm is physical, psychological, or financial, crimes impact on their victim and their communities negatively.

The differences between white collar crime and blue collar crime become vital when discussing the punitive measures for each type. The legal system doesn’t officially differentiate crimes by color, but the distinctions between the two can significantly impact prosecution.

Blue Collar Crime, Defined

We typically associate blue-collar crime as those you expect of an individual in a lower social class. Look how far our law enforcement’s ideas have come. Criminology states that blue collar crime is a far more common occurrence. These are crimes that are usually small-scale and their perpetrators commit them for immediate gain or satisfaction. Blue collar crime is usually a direct act driven by reaction, e.g. fighting after a poorly executed drug deal, robberies, or shoplifting.

The term blue collar crime originated in the early 1900’s as a term to describe American manual laborers. These jobs are typically messy, so, workers would wear dark clothing to mask the dirt and debris. Many of those workers also wore blue shirts and uniforms. They were your construction workers, janitors, blacksmiths, and laborers. These type of workers normally received a meager hourly wage, though pay varied greatly according to your niche or industry.

Examples of blue collar crime include:

  • Armed Robbery
  • Sexual Assault
  • Burglary
  • Drug Abuse

White Collar Crime, Defined

According to the FBI, the term white collar crime came about in 1939. It quickly became synonymous with frauds committed by business and government professionals. Unlike blue collar crimes, white collar crimes’ perpetrators are typically salaried individuals in high-powered positions. Furthermore, white collar crimes are very elaborate and nonviolent in nature. Examples includes public corruption, securities fraud, and money laundering. Although these are nonviolent in their nature, this doesn’t nullify the impact of their consequences. They can breed truly dire effects. These sort of crimes can devastate the corporations’ public image, wipe out millions of dollars in personal savings, and undermine public trust in an entire industry. In fact, some of the most intricate schemes defrauded people of billions. As the FBI’s awareness of white collar crime increases, so does the sophistication of the protection offered.

Examples of white collar crime include:

  • Wage Theft
  • Embezzlement
  • Copyright Infringement
  • Identity Theft

Blue collar crime is relentlessly prosecuted. Many of its perpetrators often face incarceration and pay their debt to society. However, in the case of white collar crime, it’s a completely different story. Many who commit white collar crimes often get a slap on the wrist when you consider the magnitude of their crimes. Perpetrators of white collar crime benefit greatly from the institutionalized non-enforcement practices. Our law enforcement beats on the have-not’s and lets the upper class bask in their privilege – even if it means letting them be above the law in certain situations.

If you’ve been a victim of white collar crime, you need a lawyer who is familiar with defending criminal charges relating to financial operations. To learn more about how one of our lawyers can be of aid to you, contact us.

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