White Collar crimes are financial crimes which are non-violent in nature and crimes that fall under this category are usually committed by personnel working in business or governmental organizations. Despite their non-violent nature, do you know that corporate crime in the United States causes far more damage than all the street crimes combined together? For those who don’t know and are in need of hard facts, here are some statistics on white collar crime and its effects to the global community.
- Corporate crime results in more collateral damage than all the street crimes such as robbery, individual credit card scams, and burglary incidents if classified under one category. Putting numbers to this fact, the FBI crimes statistics unit estimates the financial losses from street crimes to approximately $3.8billion yearly while losses from corporate crime from only the healthcare industry, amount to approximately $100 to $400billion yearly.
The Saving and Loans crisis which affected the Federal Savings and Loans Insurance corporation and the Resolution Trust Corporation racked up an unprecedented 400 to 500 billion dollar loss as well as the failure of a third 1043 of the 3234 savings/loans association in the United States.
- Corporate crimes lead to violent crimes in many situations and here are the numbers to back it up. The FBI states approximately 16000 people die yearly as a result of direct violence done to their person while approximately 56000 people die due to work related incidents or occupational diseases such as black lung cancer.
It is important to note that this figure does not take into consideration the thousands that die from hospital malpractice, and hazardous consumer products or bureaucratic negligence.
- The public’s perception of white collar crime places it as a crime more serious than Car theft but far less serious than murder. A survey conducted in 2005 by NW3C Group gives a clearer picture on how corporate crime is perceived in the US. To better understand the survey, here are the parameters used:
- A scale of 0 to 7 was used as the measurement scale, with 0 representing ‘not serious’ while 7 represented ‘very serious’
- The survey saw car theft rated as the least serious crime at 4 while murder was the most serious offense at 6.89.
According to the survey, corporate crime was more serious than Car theft but somewhat less serious than murder. The respective scores for the different types of white collar crimes where:
- Deliberately Omitting Safety Reports at 6.18
- Insurance fraud at 5.83
- Hacking into corporate databases at 5.6 and
- Embezzlement at 5.18.
- White collar crime arrests also spring a few surprises when one considers the percentage it contributes to the overall population arrested in the United States.
Statistics from the FBI Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) show you that out of the 14.1million arrests processed across 10,974 agencies, 458, 946 were related to corporate crime. Which means corporate crime amounted to approximately 3% of total arrests.
Looking deeper into these numbers we have; 118, 455 arrested for forgery, 321,521 for fraud and 18,970 arrested for embezzlement.
- The white collar crime demographic in the United States has also been mapped out by the FBI and statistics show that the south contributes a larger percentage to white collar crime than any other region in the United States. These are the facts:
An analysis of 10.4 million arrests through the country contained the following information; 37,328 arrested on forgery and counterfeiting were made in the south, the West accounted for 23,410 arrests, the Midwest 13,984 while the Northeast accounted for 12,624 arrests. Also, the numbers for fraud and embezzlement follow this pattern.
For fraud; the south leads with 140,271 arrests, followed by the Midwest 34,401, the Northeast with 34,093 arrests and the West with 22,856.
- Statistics on white collar crime emanating from cities, suburbs and metropolitan areas create no surprises and buttresses the fact that white collar crime occurs predominantly in cities where more commercial and governmental agencies are located.
The numbers show that from the 10.4 million arrests analyzed, 64,874 people were arrested for forgery and counterfeiting in cities, 34,552 from suburban areas while metropolitan areas made up 14,944 arrests in 2005.
Statistics on fraud are also not different. Arrest on fraudulent crime in cities accounted for 120, 631 of the total number, suburban areas were close behind with 115,295, metropolitan areas had 70, 881 arrests while non-metropolitan areas experienced 40,209 arrests.
- Analyzing white collar crimes and offenders age group points out the fact that adults are the more active party participating in white collar crimes when compared to teenagers. This is to be expected due to the opportunities and access available to adults who work as professionals in corporate organizations.
According to the FBI UCR, data from 1996 showed that 5,433 teenagers were arrested for forgery while 6,947 were arrested for fraud. This is in contrast to the 120,232 adults arrested for forgery and 150,245 arrested for fraud.
Another interesting fact from the FBI’s research on white collar crime showed that these criminal activities among teenagers sharply declined in later years. In 2005, only 2,600 people under 18 were arrested for forgery which was a 52.1% decline when compared to 1996 while the 2005 numbers for fraud was 4,779 which led to a corresponding decrease of 32.1% compared to 1996 figures.
- Comparing white collar crimes and offenders gender brings to light another unsurprising fact. Men are more likely to be involved with white collar crime than women. A 2013 review of white collar crimes in courts across the United States concentrated on 483 defendants taking part in 83 representative cases showed that:
- Less than one in ten offenders from the 483 defendants were women.
- All solo executed frauds were carried out by men.
- No case had ever involved an all-female conspiracy to commit white collar crime.
- All male groups were responsible for 75% of the cases while mixed-groups involving a female were responsible for a quarter of the cases reviewed.
- White collar crime in the real estate sector dominates every other sector in terms of financial losses. Data from the FBI UCR showed that the arrest rate for individuals associated with property crime was almost twice the number of those arrested for fraud forgery and embezzlement put together.
Property crime led to the arrest of 635,500 offenders in 1997 through 1999, while fraud accounted for 131,500 cases, embezzlement 6,500 and forgery/counterfeiting 40,700.
- White collar fraud is poorly prosecuted in the United States and leads to lesser incarceration or jail time than crimes classified under street crime such as robbery, carjacking, murder, peddling banned substances etc.
According to a 2015 report from the Federal Bureau of Prisons, 93.7% of inmates were convicted under crimes considered as street crimes while 0.3% were convicted under crimes considered to be white collar crimes.
We hope that these facts get you up the speed with white collar crime. For more material on the subject be sure to check our 20 topics on white collar crime for research paper writing along with our guide on how to tackle such academic task.
Russel, M. (2008). Soft on Crime. http://multinationalmonitor.org/hyper/issues/1995/05/mm0595_09.html
Wikipedia: The Savings and Loan Crisis.
Rebekah, D. (2011). US White Collar Crime Policy too Soft.
Gale Research. (2008). Crime, Prisons and Jails.
Nicel, A. (2013). When the Gender Gap is a Good Thing: Women and Corporate Crime.
FBI National Press Office. (2002). The Measurement of White Collar Crime Using Uniform Crime Reporting Data. http://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/white-collar-crime-study
Understanding White Collar Crime: Definitions, Extents and Consequences. http://www.sagepub.com/sites/default/files/upm-binaries/43839_2.pdf