There are different kinds of crime that are so prevalent in the United States today; from misdemeanors to high degree murders. All crimes are punishable under the law, but the unfortunate reality is that most of these go unnoticed and unpunished.
In the variety of crimes that are so common in the country, most are classified as either street crime or white collar crime. Let’s see what each of these mean and what is the one difference between street crime and white collar crime.
Street Crime Definition
A street crime is often referred to as a crime that happens in a public or private space, where a person is harmed by another person. Street crime can be anything violent or non-violent, from violent crimes such as homicide, rape, assault, robbery, and arson.
Street crimes vary from misdemeanors to first degree murders, from arson to homicide, from sexual assault to rape, and of course, the punishment for each of these too varies. Statistics kept through the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the FBI show that most street criminals are:
- Racial minorities
Of course, these demographics are questionable because it is not that these people commit the most crimes, it is that poor, black men are often the target of arrests and fines.
One street crime example is of George Floyd who was killed out in the streets for being black! Imagine the amount of hatred one race has against another for someone to be killed out in the streets for the colour of their skin. In March 2020, a 46-year-old black man was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota, while being arrested for allegedly using a counterfeit bill. The white police officer had his knee on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes nad 46 seconds, after which he died while crying for help.
There are so many street crimes that are driven as a result of racism and hatred against minorities, and George Floyd is just one example in 2020. For centuries, African American men, women and children have been subject to discrimination, torture, abuse and street killings at the hands of white supremacists.
White-Collar Crime Definition
A white collar crime is identified as a non-violent crime, often driven by financial motives to monetarily harm someone or their asset. Common examples of a white-collar crime are non violent crimes such as fraud, embezzlement, forgery, bribery, cybercrime and extortion.
White collar crimes are usually only for monetary benefits, and may be driven by personal means, personal grudges or betrayal.
What is the difference between Street Crime and White-Collar Crime?
The one major difference that distinguishes street crime from white-collar crime is the nature of violence. Street crimes are violent crimes that physically, emotionally or sexually harm another person, and could vary from an assault to murder.
White collar crimes are often committed by corporate professionals and business organizations for monetary benefits and are non violent in nature: embezzlement, fraud, forgery etc. unlike street crimes, these do not physically or sexually harm another person.
In terms of punishment as well, street crimes often have death sentences, life sentences, years and years in prison, whereas white collar crimes have heavy settlement fines, less than 20 years in jail and a tainted personal and professional record.
What is the most dangerous form of White-Collar Crime?
According to statistics and records from the FBI, it is reported that corporate fraud is the most dangerous form of white collar crime. This not only has the capacity to shake up an entire business but also the economy. The most common variations of fraud are forging someone else’s signature on legal documents to unlawfully gain a benefit, or insider trading and false pretense.
Fraud is very common in corporate entities, and it is often hard to stop it or identify it long after the loss has actually been done. This makes years long businesses and conglomerates to topple to the ground, often so massively that it takes decades before they are able to get back up.
One of the greatest examples of corporate fraud is Volkswagen. Governments around the world test cars to make sure vehicles meet emissions standards. Adhering to these standards can be costly for automakers, so Volkswagen came up with a clever idea: The company put a special type of software in about 11 million of its diesel-powered cars to detect when those cars were being tested for emissions and change their results.
But when this so-called ‘diesel dupe’ was discovered in September 2015, it wound up being far more costly for the company than simply following the rules. In the U.S. alone, Volkswagen was forced to recall more than 480,000 vehicles and pay about $25 billion in fines. CEO Martin Winterkorn resigned as a result, and the company continues to face financial burdens and ongoing litigation risk for its actions to this day.
Which is worse White-Collar Crime or Street Crime?
Honestly, this question is rather relative. Even though street crime includes physical violence and bodily injury, white collar crimes are considered more serious. They not only shatter a person’s years long effort of establishment, but also are capable of bringing millionaires to the streets.
But that doesn’t mean that street crimes are any less worse. The loss of human life or the harm caused to them which gives them emotional trauma for the rest of their life is equally wrong and horrible. Murders or rape or arson not only harms the victims directly but their families and friends, so the crime is not just against that one person, it is against everyone the victim is related to.
Street crime and white collar crime are equally dangerous and the worst kinds of felony. The difference between them is that street crime inflicts bodily threat or injury to another person, whereas white collar crimes are usually in the corporate world- a series of non violent crimes driven by monetary benefits and gains.
Both are criminal activities that are punishable by law, and of course, the punishment for both varies. It is common that there is years of jail time, heavy fines and even death sentencing for these crimes.