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The use of White Collar Crime in referring to a particular category of deviant or illegal conduct is a major feature in the linguistic landscape. Though criminologists have disagreed on the meaning of this term they have been however talking about it for a very long time. The definition of White Collar Crime as compared to that of abstract terms in social science, legal and philosophical discourse is immensely contested. The real definition varies across numerous linguistic practices and disciplines as criminologists have sought to find a universal meaning but most times they have landed on substitutes. This paper hence aims at giving particular attention to the definition of White Collar Crime, debates on the scope of this term, legal standing, meaning and its imperativeness as far as criminology is concerned.
White Collar Crimes usually affect major areas of our contemporary life. For example manipulation of scientific data, financial scandals pension frauds, public and tax sector frauds, the detrimental activities of most corporations thus endangering the safety of the employees and consumers or even passengers (Hennessey & Tim, 2007, pp. 135) are examples of what can be termed as White Collar Crimes. Though these acts are subject to criminal justice and criminal law, they are usually not regarded as crime in a similar way thus they are unlikely to prompt calls for punishment and tougher policing. The differences always arise according to the type of crime committed, the law broken, who is responsible for enforcing the law and the sanctions that are imposed (Hennessey & Tim, 2007, pp. 137). White Collar Crimes encompasses of a vast range of destructive activities though they are not popularly referred as crimes (Frank &Roger, 2008, pp. 152). The detrimental nature of activities that is associated with white collar crimes have been widely recognized and analyzed. The morality behind capitalism has always been associated with these deviant activities. To early criminologists, crime was widely associated with activities that were done by low class offenders who populated the prisons and the courts (Larry, 2008, pp. 74). Research and theory sought to analyze and identify the main causes of crimes that were usually presumed to lie in pathologies of deprivation, poverty and individual offenders. This was however challenged by Sutherland who drew attention to most crimes that are not usually included in the scope of criminology and defined the term White Collar Crime as those crimes that are usually committed by people who are of high social status and respectable in their occupation (Hennessey & Tim, 2007,pp.136). He associated this term with executives and business managers in order to differentiate their offences with the secret games that are done underground. Some of the crimes that can be referred to as White Collar crimes are occupational, corporate, state, environmental, computer and financial crimes as well as consumer scams (Hennessey & Tim, 2007, pp. 137-138). This hence means that the meaning of white collar crime encompasses a great range of legal, philosophical, social science, coercion and also use of violence and it is all round.
Having knowledge about White collar crime in criminology is quite important since most of these forms of crimes go unreported and the victims continue to complain of the losses (Hennessey & Tim, 2007, pp. 142). Debates on the control and causes of White Collar crimes usually connect to divergent political evaluations of transgression of businesses, personality traits, capitalism and others (Hennessey & Tim, 2007, pp. 143).
White Collar crime is a vast term that comprise of various types of some nonviolent offences that involve unlawful financial transactions and fraud. It comprises of bribery, counterfeiting, bank fraud, blackmail, forgery, embezzlement, tax evasion, insider trading, money laundering and some antitrust violations (Hennessey & Tim, 2007, pp. 139-141). Law enforcements officials do agree that these crimes are a major problem which are quite complex to document since these crimes are under different categories. Over many years, various regulations covering areas such as business have already been enacted thus with more laws there have been numerous prosecutions. During mid 1980, Australia made great efforts to fight and reduce the increase of white collar crime. There was introduction of smart regulations which focused on issuing notices of warning, making the prosecutions public to deter the offenders, exemplary prosecutions to high profile people through imprisoning them or imposing heavy fines, shutting down any questionable operation and entering into premises and seizing the use of certain documents among others (Hennessey & Tim, 2007, pp. 144-145).
These powers are now widely used in various institutions and there has also been enforcement of laws in relation to White collar crimes. However, governments across nations ought to come up with more firm laws and where they need to regulate business policies they ought to decide where they really need to focus their entire efforts and whether it is on complaint based prosecutions and investigations or on some proactive prevention strategies (Bruce, 2010, pp. 433). The government also needs to increase resources for investigation as most agencies allege that they have no sufficient resources for investigation (Hennessey & Tim, 2007, pp. 147).
The importance of studying about White Collar crime in criminology is not simply because of its provision of an immense contrast of common crimes that are mostly focused in criminological work, but it is its aptitude to explore and examine the diversity of the offenders as far as the white collar crime category is concerned. It is very relevant in all business and corporate dealings and it hence will help the criminologists identify with such kind of crimes.
Despite debates, ambiguity and controversies that have emerged for many years, is the fact that the offences have a vast impact to people and businesses as they cause harm to the victims. Though White collar crime is a term that is quite ambiguous, the trivial crimes should not be taken for granted as they also fall under the same category of White Collar Crime. There ought to be grave commitment in order to reduce the increase of these crimes from the government.