Controversy surrounds the ranking of crime seriousness of white-collar crimes relative to street crimes, with early research suggesting the general public is indifferent to crimes of the elite, whereas more recent research indicates that the public thinks certain types of white-collar crime are serious. Building on prior research limitations and using data from a national random probability sample, this study compares the seriousness ratings of a number of white-collar and street crimes and examines the factors that distinguish seriousness ratings across the crime types. The analyses indicate that certain types of white-collar crimes are ranked as more serious than street crimes and that a limited set of demographic correlates distinguish seriousness ratings across the two crime types. Future research directions are outlined.
- Street crime
- White-collar crime