Concept of the Month -- April 2007

White Collar Crime and Street Crime: Similar Thought Processes

Although a so-called white collar crime such as embezzlement and a street crime such as an armed robbery are obviously very different in nature, the thought processes of the perpetrators are very similar. The education, background, and particular choice of crime differs among offenders, but they all make similar errors of thinking. There is excitement in every phase of the crime -- thinking about it, talking about it with buddies, executing it, and celebrating its success. The offender in either instance has a "chess board" view of life and pursues power and control for their own sake -- one using a firearm, the other outmaneuvering and outwitting his colleagues. Each regards himself as totally unique; no one else is like him. The white collar and street criminal have no operational concept of injury to others. Both consider themselves to be the victims when they are held accountable. And both are able to shut off from consideration deterrents of external consequences and of conscience. Both know right from wrong but, at the time, they can make anything wrong right and anything right wrong. And each considers himself basically a decent human being.

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