Street crime and white collar crime are both intentional and devise a plan to affect someone negatively, other than yourself. Generally, street crime is more violent in nature when compared to white collar crime. However, white collar crime can have a more devastating effect financially and emotionally, when compared to street crime which has similar effects but can also represent negative physical effects as well.
The penalties involving white collar crime and street crime tend to be the same sort of punishment, but the length of time and commitment is highly versatile. Some examples of penalties or punishments for committing a white collar crime or street crime include “...large fines, home detention, community confinement, costs of prosecution, forfeitures, restitution, supervised release, and imprisonment” (Criminal Defense Advocates, 2008). When comparing the two types of crime and taking a deeper look into a societal problem one must ask themselves, which crime affects society worse...white collar crime or street crime?
Street crime offenders tend to come from a lower socio-economic status (generally speaking) when in comparison with white collar criminals. According to the book, White-Collar Crime and Criminal Careers, it states “...unlike most street criminals white-collar offenders are often employed and may have conventional career histories” (Weisburd & Waring, 2001). However, one misleading question I have asked myself through this research is...should white collar crime and street crime be categorized together or separate? In my opinion, both have detrimental effects, but street crime has a certain shock value and fear attached with the meaning. In most cases, street crime is an intentional violent offense, which can result in a traumatic death of innocent victims. On the other hand, white collar crimes can result in death, but in most cases it is due to the use of sub-standard use of equipment or construction materials. The two types of crime should not be categorized together because each has different meaning behind the crime committed.
Street crime is intentional and most of the time well-planned ahead of time. The offender often targets the right victim who is vulnerable and defenseless; this assures the offender the victim will be submissive to their criminal act to avoid any potential harm to themselves. White collar crime is also intentional and takes place over a longer period of time. Their could be several victims and several offenders taking place in white collar crime, however the potential danger lies within financial constraints and emotional stability. In street crime, the danger can be physical, emotional, mental, and financial; results can end in life-threatening injury or death.
Street crime has safety concerns and white collar crime has financial concerns; without safety or financial stability lives of U.S. Citizens will become unstable and more crime (of any type) will be committed in order for survival to take place. If people have families they need to support, since white-collar crime took their financial stability, the parent/guardian will do anything it takes to provide for their family; which can lead to committing street crimes in order to obtain an income or financial stability.
White-collar crime is the root to most crimes committed in the United States. For an example, if you have a financial stable family making well over their needed income and the wife/mother in the family commits a white-collar offense of bribery and corporate embezzlement; the family will have a high risk of being financially ruined. The two spouses might then have to resort to burglary, robbery, or other street crimes in order to provide for themselves. According to Su Epstein, “...certain ethnic or racial groups may get arrested or convicted more than others due to prejudices within the criminal justice system, however this is not an indication that the group commits more crime”, and this situation proves to be true within social class as well (Epstein, 2008). Social inequalities exist within street crime, white collar crime, and how the offender is prosecuted. Social class, gender, race, and ethnicity plays a large role in whether crimes are prosecuted fairly or whether the offender will receive a “break” and be let off the hook for the crime committed. Inequalities still exist in street crime and white collar crime, but both are equally harmful to society and present a danger to society.
Epstein, Su. (2001). Suite 101: “Who, What, & Where of Street Crime”. http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/crime_deviance/79466
Waring, Elin, Weisburd, David. White-Collar Crime and Criminal Careers. Cambridge University Press: New York, NY, 2001.