Crime and White Collar Crime in Today’s America Compared to the 1940s

Sociology is a big part of criminology, as we know sociology is the study of social groups, race, class etc, well those same concepts apply to criminology within those who get caught, prosecuted and incarcerated, as well as what happens to them after they serve their sentence in prison. Edwin Sutherland played a huge role with incorporating sociology in with criminology. Sutherland helped change the view of criminology and the crimes people committed into viewing it more as a society as a whole, and the effects it has on the society. According to Sutherland, people are not just born a criminal, also known as the differential association. Criminal behavior is learned from the world around them, like today television, internet, video games and songs have a huge impact on society and how we act and respond to situations.

There are two types of crime, violent crime and property crime; one is based on threat, assault, murder, etc., where the other is based on nonviolent crime like theft, burglary, fraud, etc. One major “property” crime that Sutherland discussed was the “white collar” crime. This crime was a criminal offense done by those who were upper class, high status people in society. It is a non-violent crime, although it involves fraud, theft, misconceptions, etc. This included political crimes too. He researched more and found that the lower class society also committed these acts of a “white collar crime”, but were treated differently and suffered harsher consequences than those of the upper class. Sutherland made it aware that all crimes are crimes, no matter who committed them.

The crimes done by the lower class were handled by police officers, and the court justice systems which could result in jail time or even punishment by death, where the upper class resulted in little to no fines at all. In today’s world I think Sutherland would agree but also disagree with the way we are handling the justice system on crime. Agreeing to the fact he would most likely approve in the sense there would no longer be such a huge drastic difference between how the upper class would be prosecuted compared to how the lower class was being prosecuted for their crimes. It is a more fair system than it was then. There still are loop holes, and unfair situations I think but for the most part I believe he would agree with them. As it was mentioned in the article, a crime is a crime no matter who commits it.

Today, there are more ways to prosecute people based on the crimes they commit and how severe or non-severe they are. For example we have probation and parole. Allowing more chance for nonviolent criminals to be rehabilitated into a better life, and not end up back in prison. I would like to believe that Sutherland would be happy with the way criminology has grown since his time. Criminology has grown significantly since his time, with giving an even amount of justice towards anyone who commits a crime, rather than just looking over the cases committed by the wealthier class. Sutherland emphasized the importance of needing heavier law enforcement on these white collar criminals. We have that now in this century.

One thing this is troubling and could cause a disagreement with the way Sutherland would view how criminology is being done would be that crime is increases inside the prisons and jails. There are more and more people being sentenced to them and the goal to rehabilitate the inmate’s has decreases as the punishment is increasing. Those who are serving time are learning how to become a better criminal inside the walls of the prison.

In this century because of Sutherland we now look at both the internal factor and external factor to why crimes happen. By using both criminology and sociology to for today’s modern time criminology, which has been advancement since Sutherland’s time. Sutherland wanted a more secure ran legal system, with stricter laws, and prevention. Today we use different punishments of convictions, also by trying to prevent crime by making recommendations to the government, police forces and courts so they can embrace the laws to protect the society.

All in all I think Edwin Sutherland would agree with the way the 21st century has advanced in its criminology stand point. As a country it has grown with knowledge to the extent on how to prosecute people in reference to the crimes they commit, also with a fair sentence. There will always be crimes, and “white collar” crimes. The crimes we have today have expanded into bigger worse and more complicated crimes as well due to the technological growth, becoming a globalizing crime too.Not only with fraud, embezzlement and other, but the country struggles with border crossing crimes dealing with drugs as well. Another example for how our criminology has advances is since 9/11, was a tragic terror attacked, but our law enforcement and intelligence committees have advanced from that and now we have the technology to prevent something like that from happening again.

Concluding that I do believe that Edwin Sutherland would have to agree with the way our justice system and criminology systems have advanced since his time. There are many reasons why crimes happen, no one is born a criminal.

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Crime and white collar crime in today's america compared to the 1940s. (2021, May 28). Retrieved August 9, 2022 , from

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