Street crime is the most common crime on people's everyday experience. This type of crime is shown on the media, it is seen on the streets and it is closer to people's perceptions. However there are crimes which is not punished as hard and it is more harmful to society than street crime. These crimes are corporate and white-collar crime.
This paper will discuss firstly why white-collar crime and corporate crime are perceived as less severe than street crime, secondly, it will explain why it should not be seen as less serious and finally it will show some examples of corporate and white collar crime that will portray why this sort of crime should be regarded as serious. First of all this paper will provide a brief definition of white collar, corporate crime and street crime which are relevant to the discussion this document will be doing. White-collar crime.
Edwin Sutherland coined this term and he defined it as " [The] … crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation" (Sutherland cited in Sutton & Haines, 2003: 142) Other Scholars have a broader definition for this type of crime. They define it as the crimes committed by people – upper or middle class- performed during their employment period (Dirkis & Nicoll, 1996:257). As Hazel Croall states: "Crime committed in the course of legitimate employment involving the abuse of an occupational role". (Croall cited in www.
revision-notes. co. uk/revision/159. html, 2001) another form of crime, which is related to white collar crime, is corporate crime. Corporate crime Corporate crime is not easily defined. For this reason, it has been defined as the use of the resources of a corporation to commit a crime. (Sutton & Haines, 2003:148) However it was best define Kramer: "… [The] Criminal acts (of omission or commission) which are the result of deliberate decision making (or culpable negligence) by persons who occupy structural positions within the organization as corporate executives or managers.
These decisions are organisational in that they are organisationally based-made in accordance with the operative goals (primarily corporate profit) standard operating procedures, and cultural norms of the organization- and are intended to benefit the corporation itself"(Kramer cited in Tomansic, 1994: 254) In other words corporate crime is the crime done by the company in order to increase profit. (www. revision-notes. co. uk/revision159. html, 2001) Some examples of corporate crime are price fixing, tax violations, fraud against government, false statements, among others.
Street Crime This is a form of crime, which is committed in the public sphere in places such as: streets, footpaths, parks, railway stations and car parks. (Ross & Polk, 2003: 124) Street crime is for instance: Robberies, car theft, assaults and other thefts. . So far, this paper has explained what are white collar, corporate crime and street crime. Now I will be discussing why street crime is considered more serious than corporate crime. Why corporate and white-collar crimes are seen as less serious than street crime?
There are several reasons why street crime is regarded as more serious than corporate or white-collar crime: Corporate and white-collar crimes are far more costly- in lives and dollars- than any other type of crime. (Milchen & Power, 2001) The conservative figures from the United States of America show that the financial cost of crimes such as bribery, tax evasion and other corporate crimes are ten times the economic failure caused by robbery burglary, theft and motor-vehicle theft combined.
(Freeman & Forcese, 1994) As Sutherland (cited in Hughes & Langan, 2001:244) argues: " The financial cost of white collar crimes probably several times as great as the financial cost of all the crimes which are customarily regarded as the 'crime problem'… " Moreover he argues that white collar and corporate crimes harm the social institutions or organisations because it generates doubt and social disorganization, on the other hand ordinary crimes or street crimes have hardly any effect on them.
Corporate and white-collar crimes are harmful to people, economy and social organizations. The harm produced by corporate crime varies; it depends on who the victim is. It can be said that there are five kinds of corporate crime. (Hughes & Langan, 2001: 246) The first is crimes where the employee is the victim, this is done in order to lessen costs, maximise profits or to meet deadlines (Hughes & Langan, 2001:246). Companies may violate the law by having poor health and safety regulations. The second is where the offence is committed against consumers.
These offences include fraudulent advertising, bad quality products or the disobedience of regulations to defend the wellbeing of the ones who obtain a product or a service. (Hughes & Langan, 2001:248) the third is Offences against the public, which are "the potential danger to the public and the environment resulting from industrial development… " (Hughes & Langan, 2001:249). Finally offences against the state, because of the state intervention in many of the corporate processes, companies or government officials may incur in corruption. (Hughes & Langan, 2001:250)
As was argued before the extent of the crime varies. It harms economy, social organizations, employees, consumers, the state, the public and the environment. Corporations crimes are much more serious than street crime because they are able to harm different institutions and people at the same time and usually they do not receive any punishment. This essay will now present some examples of different corporate crimes that will show how serious their consequences can be. The Ford Pinto case: In the 1960s ford motor company run into production the compact Pinto model (Hagan, 2002:340).
In order to compete with the global market and even though the crash tests results were not satisfactory -it demonstrated that the fuel tank exploded in rear-end collisions- the company continued the production. (Hagan, 2002:340) This company choose profit over human lives. (Hagan, 2002:340) The company avoid federal safety standards that would have made them implement a design modification in the fuel tank. (Hagan, 2002:340) Five Hundred people were burnt to death because of the malfunction on the tank.
(Hagan, 2002:340) According to the company memorandum Ford completed a cost and benefit analysis where the costs for paying deaths, injuries and damages were less than the costs of changing the tank. (Hagan, 2002:340) In other words it was economical to face the lawsuits than to solve the problem. (Hagan, 2002:340) This was the first time a corporation in the United States of America was prosecuted for murder. (Hagan, 2002:340) This vehicle was finally recalled in 1978. (Hagan, 2002:340) Ships of shame:
Six bulk carriers were lost after departing from ports in Western Australia, where in three incidents the entire crew perished, resulting in a total of 77 deaths. These ships were contracted to take iron ore and other materials away from the Northeastern Australian coast, an inquiry to the Commonwealth Shipping industry found that the ships weren't appropriate for sea transportation. However regulators have been ignoring this fact. In addition to this it was revealed that Filipino and other foreign crew of these vessels were subjected to physical abuse, starved of food and denied any contact with their families.
Ruthless competition among contractors was considered as the major factor for using substandard ships and poor human resources techniques. Conclusion: Corporate and White Collar crime are graver than street crime. Even though street crime seems to be more serious because it is more apparent to s the truth is than cooperate and white crime can be far more dangerous because they have the power to change laws and the economical resources to defend themselves. Corporate crime is much more costly. Its harms can be directed to the public, environment and to the society.