Political and White Collar Crime
TerrorismCrimes of the Powerful
Definitions Vary Widely“The use of violence to influence the political, social, or religious attitudes and/or behaviors of others”“Premeditated, politically motivated violence, designed to spread fear and perpetrated against civilians”“Definedin the Code of Federal Regulations as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives” (28 C.F.R. Section 0.85).”
National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Response to TerrorismUniversity of MarylandConvergence of several databases + new additions from mediaWhat qualifies:Intend to coerce/intimidate/convey message beyond immediate victimsAimed at attaining political/social/religious goalContext outside of legitimate warfareAlmost 100,000 terrorist incidents between 1970 and 201043,000 bombings, 14,000 assassinations, and 4,700 kidnappings
From START data
Terrorism events have declined substantially since the 1970sTurbulence of late 1960s-1970sLeft Wing (Weathermen) and Right Wing (White supremacists)The terrorist events that have occurred have been much larger in magnitudeOklahoma city bombingFirst WTC bombing9/11Roughly one half of terrorism cases world wide, and one-third in the U.S. remain unsolved
Terrorist attacks on U.S. soil
1970 1980 1990 2000 2010
Salmonella 1993 OK 9/11PoisonWTC bomb
Types of Terrorism
Domestic terrorismU.S.Left Wing (Weathermen, Eco-Terrorism)Right Wing (Militias, Timothy McVeigh)International terrorism9/11 attackState terrorismAgainst domestic or foreign “enemies”German atrocities against Jews circa WWII
Terrorism and the Media
Scholars have pointed out that there is a natural matchTerrorists depend on mediaUse event to coerce larger audience: highvisibility targets, graphic acts, pre-event contact with mediaoutlets,post-event videosMedia as a natural venue for terrorismDramatic, violent, visual, timely (vs. wars which are protracted, highly complex…)HIGHRATINGS
Response to Terrorism
Difficult balanceAggressive response detection, deterrenceConcern civil rights, overreachingExamplesUSA Patriot ActWarrantless search and seizures, wiretapping, etc.Global War on TerrorInterrogation techniques, use of drones to assassinate, etc.
Situational Crime Prevention
Reduce opportunities for offendingGains in technology, training, and enforcement techniques likely played a role in the reduction of terrorist attacksMonitoring of bomb-making materials, airport security, FBI stings, etc.
Boston Bombing in Context
Domestic or Foreign?Media CoverageResponseSituational Crime PreventionPressurecooker bombs with kitchen timers26 mile course, densely packed with spectators
Crimes of the Powerful
Organized CrimeWhite Collar CrimeOccupational CrimeCorporate Crime
Criminal activity committed by groups with some manner of formalized structurePrimary goal is typically money and powerSome ambiguity hereStreet gangs versus drug cartelsTerrorist groups
Just how organized is it?
The Alien Conspiracy Model (foreign criminals)Highly organized and centralizedSicilian “Mafia” (LaCosaNostra) as poster childMafia code (loyalty, respect, discipline), secretoaths,Local, ethnic group modelStrongfamily ties and obligations related to kinship and ethnicityDistrust of outsiders and governmentCapacity for organization and cooperation among groupsAbility to cultivate good will of local residentsInfluencelimited to cities/geographical areas
Crimes of the organized
Illegal IndustriesGambling, narcotics distribution, loan sharking, extortion, insurance scams, fencing…Violence associated with enforcementLegitimate industryUsed to launder money + create monopolies + extortRestaurants/food, garbage disposal, garment manufacturing, labor unions, construction…PoliticalBribery, fixing elections, coercing agents of criminal justice, etc.
Mafia is often used as general termUsually refers to Italian Americans (Sicilian)LaCosaNostra (“our thing” in Italian)Fodder for entertainment media (Sopranos, The Godfather,Goodfellas)Famous New York crime families (Gambino, Genovese)JosephValachitestimony (1963) before the SenateThe organization and crime families do exist, but the level of organization often exaggeratedDoes “stand apart” because of its pervasiveness, control over illegitimate markets, and penetration into legitimate industry
Law Enforcement Methods
HeadhuntingTarget heads of organized crime families, use informants + surveillance to indictSuccessful?Fairly successful at knocking off “heads” but still organized crimeOrganized Crime Control Act (1970)Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) StatutesProsecutor ability to provide witness protection
The Russian Mafia
The new media darlingLaw and Order, more recent moviesSimilar to Italian MafiaBoth began by extorting money from fellow immigrants and quickly moved into other areas, and both have reputation for violenceDifferencesLess cultural/ethnic loyalty, partnerships more opportunisticFewer “bosses” who collect a cut of illicit ventures, greater flexibility
White Collar Crime
Edwin Sutherland“A crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation”Urged criminologists to focus on crimes of the upper class, as opposed to street crime (still an issue today)What is “counted” countsSutherland’s study of 70 largest corporations: official records revealed over 980 law violations (fraud, bribery, antitrust)Much “War Profiteering”
More recent typology of WCC
Occupational CrimeCrimescommitted by individuals in the course of their occupationforpersonalgainTheft/embezzlement, medical fraud by physicians, therapist having sex with client…Corporate or Organizational CrimeCrimescommitted bycorporations(and theirexecutives) for the benefit of thecorporationOrganizations include small business and blue collar endeavors (auto repair shops)
Employee embezzlement and pilferageCollective embezzlementSavings and Loans crime wave in the 1980s (land flips)Professional FraudLawyers, PhysiciansHow many hours to bill clientsUnnecessary procedures and surgeries, Medicaid/Medicare fraud
Many organizational crimes are “blue collar”Auto repair, appliance repair20/20 and 60 minutes stingsFraudulent businesses (roofing, blacktop)Small businesses
Fraud, Cheating, CorruptionThe Enron ScandalNot alone—the most egregious of the 1990s/2000s eraHalliburton, WorldCom, Rite Aid, Adelphia…Enron = cookingbooksstocksprice (overstateearnings, hide losses) + energy marketAccounting firm (Arthur Anderson) complicit the fraud31 people indicted (Jeff Skilling, Ken Lay)More on the “Great Recession” and bailout
Corporate Crime II
Other financialPrice Fixing / Collusion (gas prices)False advertising (bait and switch)Corporate ViolenceUnsafe work conditions (miners, asbestos)Unsafe products (contaminated food)FORD PINTOCASE, PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY,AsbestosPollution
Cost of WCC
Cost MUCH higher than street crime$17 billion vs. roughly $400 billion16,000 homicides vs. 100,000 unnecessary deaths
What causes WCC?
Lenience?Double standard embedded in culture—not “real” criminalsWeak/absent regulations –rely on “ethics” and self-regulationDifficulty in proving crime (complex, good lawyers, lack resources to prosecute)SEC over 10 years, 600 cases referred for prosecution, and less than 1/3 resulted in convictions with less than 1/6 resulting in jail or prison timeWeak punishment civil settlements with no admission of wrongdoingFines often less than 1% of corporate PROFITS for a year
Conservatives cry out for punishment for street crimes, but believe that much corporate “crime” can be cured by self-regulationLiberals decry harsh punishment, especially for non-violent offenders, but believe that WCC could be reduced greatly through prison timeCorporations more “rational” than individuals?
Psychopaths:Insensitive,Manipulative, Superficial charm, Above-average intelligence, Absence of psychotic symptoms, Absence of anxiety, Lack of remorse, Failure to learn from experience, Egocentric, Lack of emotional depthCorporations are not supposed to be compassionate or think of long-term consequences