Public Support for White-Collar Crime Prevention Strategies in the Workplace

Cynthia V. Caravelis, Florida State University
Amy Bunger, Florida State University
Marc Gertz, Florida State University

Using public opinion survey data (n-1800) we examine support for measures to combat white collar crime. Specifically we analyze differences between crime control measures toward customers (cameras in dressing rooms and surveillance cameras) vs. measures targeted toward employees (listening in on employee telephone calls; using security cameras to monitor employees; and, requiring drug testing as a condition of employment). We examine perceptions of white collar crime as a cost of business, underscoring collective harm and thus diminishing public identification of such conduct as criminal. The impersonal framing as a diffuse and communally dispersed harm is likely to result in support for prevention based reactions. The lack of emphasis on individual level responsibiliy that is commonly associated with criminality may lead to higher levels of tolerance for this behavior.

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Updated 05/20/2006