I think that in the present day world white-collar crimes have become more harmful than a street crimes. It won’t be a secret that both have huge resonance in the society, but white-collar crime have a significant (psychological and material) influence on thousands of people who often became victims of such crimes. Yet in the present day situation, with television, computers, IT technologies and many other means of scientific technical progress any crime in few hours makes the whole world aware.
Street crimes, dealing with death, injuries, loss of personal property through force and sexual assault. In the 19th century, I would prove that street crime is more harmful than white collar, as at that times street crimes had a huge impact of the majority, dealing with particular city. The information could be widely spread, but the real harm could be measured only in the local areas.
The white-collar crimes are strongly connected with professional knowledge and skills. They are mainly connected with economical crimes such as frauds, fakes illegal financial transfers with the help of computer networking and many others: “FBI defined white collar crime as those illegal acts which are characterized by deceit, concealment or violation of trust in which are not dependent upon the application or threat of physical force or violence. Individuals and organizations commit these acts to obtain money, property or services; to avoid the payment or loss of money or services; or to secure personal or business advantage” (US Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1989). RICO Act dating back to 1970 is widely used to struggle with frauds within securities.
In the present days white-collar crime involves thousands of people. Now such transgression could be even transcontinental. The perfect illustration would be Enron case, where leaders manipulated the powers given them; 4 thousand people were left unemployed in the United States and nearly a thousand in Europe, the same time people who bought shares of Enron lost money (even President’s mother-in-law); the total sum of loss is t $74 billion, nearly 40 of them are attributed to fraud. Fortunately to contemporary legal systems there is chance for these people to bring their money back even partially: “Enron staff were yesterday awarded $85 million to compensate them partly for some $2 billion that was wiped out of their share accounts and pension funds when the energy company collapsed in 2001” (Doran, 2004)
Enron is not a single case of well-planned financial fraud, and more people loose everything. White-collar crime has become an essential part of cyber world, as cyber technologies, as well as business technologies lead to temptation to commit such transgressions. A number of people around the world became victims of such crimes. I think that such crimes cause financial catastrophes of thousands ordinary people and that is much more harmful than street crime and gets involved thousands of people in the process.
1. US Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation (1989). White-Colar Crime: A Report to the Public. Washington DC: US Department of Justice
2. Doran J. (May 14, 2004). Enron staff win $85m. The Times
3. Collins, D. (2006). Behaving Badly: Ethical Lessons from Enron. Dog Ear Publishing, LLC.
4. Fox, L. (2003). Enron: The Rise and Fall. John Wiley & Sons