- Plaid-collar crime
Plaid-collar crime is an act of
theftor related criminal offence that directly affects farm workers, such as the theft of produce or farm stock and equipment. Although "plaid-collar crime" (Rural Commodity Theft) isn't a recognised criminal exercise, it has become increasingly evident in the farming communities of the United Statesand United Kingdom. Recently the unlawful acquisitions of rural commodities such as nuts, fruit, vegetables, artichokes, trees, tree bark, timber, cattleand diesel. The estimated cost of "plaid-collar crime" on the American economy is in excess of USD$10 billion costing the average American taxpayer USD$33 in procured items.Fact|date=September 2007 Whilst in comparison to other forms of criminal activity most such crimes seem minuscule, rural crime puts a strain on an economy by increasing prices of item in demand after a lack of availability because of such crimes. Several commodities are particularly in demand because their prices are increasing. Almondprices jumped 70 cents a pound in the summer of 2007, and beefprices remain high. Prices for high-grade lumber continue to climb. And rural backwoods areas have been hit by the coppertheft epidemic across the United Statesafter prices peaked at USD$2.80 a pound this summer.Cite web|url=http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/10/12/national/main2084994_page2.shtml|title='Plaid-Collar' Crime Is A Growing Concern, But Farmers Are Starting To Fight Back|accessyear=2007|accessmonthday=September 13|publisher=CBS News|year=2006|author=Christian Science Monitor)|language=English]
Timber theft is proving to be increasingly popular among thieves because of the rising prices of lumber and furniture.
In the United Kingdom
"Plaid-collar crime" affects more countries than just the
United States. Crime statistics in the United Kingdomsuggest that:
* 3% of people living in rural areas became victims of
burglaryand a similar proportion were victims of violent crime in 1999, compared to almost 5% for both crimes in non-rural areas.
* The number of burglaries rose more in rural areas over the past two decades compared to both suburban and urban areas.
* 12% of rural respondents to the 2001
BCS(British Crime Surveys) thought crime in their local area had risen 'a lot'. [ [http://www.crimereduction.gov.uk/rural21.htm The Rural Crime Statistics ] ]
The report notes a pattern in burglary rates common to urban,
suburbanand ruralareas - which increased until the mid 1990s and have subsequently declined. A significant rise in burglary rates in rural areas until 1995 is reflected in rural respondents' levels of concern about the crime. 19 per cent were 'very worried' about burglary in 1994, but this fell to only 11 per cent in 2001. Levels of concern about other crimes, such as mugging, racial attack or being physically assaulted are also significantly statistically lower than they are in non-rural areas. [ [http://www.crimereduction.gov.uk/rural21.htm The Rural Crime Statistics ] ]
Relationship to other types of crime
The types of crime committed are a function of the opportunities available to the potential offender. Thus, those employed in relatively unskilled environments and living in inner-city areas have fewer "situations" to exploit (see Clarke: 1997) than those who work in "situations" where large financial transactions occur and live in areas where there is relative prosperity. Note that Newman (2003) applies the Situational Crime Prevention strategy to e-crime where the opportunities can be more evenly distributed between the classes. Blue-collar crime tends to be more obvious and attract more active
policeattention (e.g. for crimes such as vandalismor shopliftingwhich protect property interests), whereas white-collar employees can intermingle legitimate and criminal behavior and be less obvious when committing the crime. Thus, blue-collar crimewill more often use physical force whereas white-collar crime will tend to be more technical in nature, e.g. in the manipulation of accountancyor inventoryrecords. In victimology, blue-collar crime attacks more obvious victims who report the crime, whereas in the corporate world, the identification of a victim is less obvious and the issue of reporting is complicated by a cultureof commercial confidentialityto protect shareholdervalue. It is estimated that a great deal of white collar crime is undetected or, if detected, it is not reported.
The distinction is that plaid-collar crime is likely to be a crime "against" the
labourers, whereas corporate crime is crime committed "by" the corporation, although the distinction blurs when the given crime promotes the interests of the labourers and its senior employees because a business entitycan only act through the agency of the natural persons whom it employs (see corporate liability).
In terms of social class and status, those employed by the
state, whether directly or indirectly, are more likely to be white-collar and so more state crime will be committed through the agency of white-collar employees.
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