The terms “blue collar” and “white collar” were named so because there was a time when the working class who were tasked to do manual labor were given blue uniforms as the color could make dirt obscure. Meanwhile, those who were given clerical jobs were required to wear a white-collared shirt.
While the distinction between blue-collar and white-collar jobs is fast disappearing these days, the description is still used to differentiate two types of crimes.
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The differences between blue-collar crime and white-collar crimes can be summarized into the following: the perpetrator’s socioeconomic status, the resources, assets, and power that were needed to do the crime, the kind of damage done, and if the criminal was actively present during the offense or not.
Blue-collar crimes are typically committed by those in the lower socioeconomic class and without the need for unique access or assets. The damage or harm is usually physical. And the criminal is present at the scene of the crime.
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White-collar crimes, meanwhile, are done by those in the higher strata of society. Thus, these perpetrators have access to assets and forces needed to conduct the crime. Examples of white-collar crimes are tax fraud, insider trading, and money laundering. In most of these cases, there’s no physical harm or damage; instead, there is a transference of resources, such as money or intellectual property.
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