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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 93603 Find in a Library
Title: White-Collar Crime Seriousness - Assessments By Police Chiefs and Regulatory Agency Investigators
Journal: American Journal of Police  Volume:3  Issue:1  Dated:(Fall 1983)  Pages:1-16
Author(s): H N Pontell; C Keenan; D Granite; G Geis
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 16
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study found that both police chiefs and the public view white-collar crimes as having similar levels of seriousness, while Federal investigators consider them to be heinous than either of the other two groups.
Abstract: Previous studies have indicated that the public supports severe penalties for white-collar offenses. This study examined perceptions of the seriousness of white-collar crime held by police chiefs and Federal investigators. It was hypothesized that police chiefs would view white-collar crimes as less severe than street crimes compared to the perspectives of the public, largely because of the police emphasis on combating street crime. Further, it was believed the Federal investigators would consider white-collar crime more serious than either the police chiefs or the public because of their involvement in white-collar investigations. To permit comparision with earlier studies, this study used the list of offenses employed by Rossi and associates (1974) in Baltimore. Since a mail questionnarie was used (Rossi used personal interviews), Rossi's roster of 140 offenses was shortened to 60 offenses. Questionnaries were mailed to 1973 police chiefs randomly selected from the directory of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. A 61 percent response rate was obtained. The same questionnaire was sent to the 103 special agents and their assistants in the 11 regional offices of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services. A 76-percent response rate was obtained. Contrary to the hypothesis, the police chiefs regarded both traditional and white-collar crimes much as the public does, but the other hypothesis was supported because Federal investigators regarded white-collar offenses more seriously than either the chief or the public. Tabular data and 30 references are provided.
Index Term(s): Offense classification; Police attitudes; Public Opinion of Crime; White collar crime
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