Sociology Index E-Books

Blue-Collar Crime

Organized Crime, Pink-collar Crime, Corporate Crime, Organizational Crime

Blue-collar crime is any crime committed by an individual from a lower social class as opposed to white-Collar Crime which is associated with crime committed by individuals of a higher social class.

There may be more white-collar crime than blue collar crime. Those employed in relatively unskilled environments and living in inner-city areas have fewer "situations" to exploit.

Blue-collar crime tends to be more obvious and attract more active police attention such as for crimes such as vandalism or shoplifting which protect property interests, whereas white-collar employees can intermingle legitimate and criminal behavior and be less obvious when committing the crime.

Blue-collar crime will more often use physical force whereas in the corporate world, the identification of a victim is less obvious and the issue of reporting is complicated by a culture of commercial confidentiality to protect shareholder value. Blue-collar crime also refers to police slang for an arrest of a suspect, or collar.

Blue-collar crimes are those that involve local police known for wearing blue and white-collar crimes are those involving Federal agents, such as FBI who typically wear suits and ties with white shirts.

The blue-collar worker in the United States is an embodiment of the American work ethic and the dignity of labor. A member of the working class blue-collar worker performs manual labor and earns an hourly wage. Blue-collar workers are distinguished from those in the service sector and from white-collar workers. Some blue-collar jobs, such as those of janitors and unskilled laborers, may carry negative stereotypes from perceptions that they represent minimal ability.

Blue-collar work may be skilled or unskilled, and may involve manufacturing, mining, building and construction trades. Blue-collar is derived from 19th century uniform dress codes of industrial workplaces. Blue-collar can also be used as an adjective to describe the environment of the blue-collar worker: for example, a blue-collar neighborhood.

According to the sourcebook of criminal justice, 10,700 persons were charged with the blue collar crime of embezzlement in the United States in 2002. A review of the literature reveals that more is known about blue-collar crimes like burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft than white-collar crime, even though the latter may have a much greater economic impact on society.