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Blue Collar Crime, it's a Thing?

Yes, the term “blue collar crime” is a thing. However, the definition and what constitutes blue collar crime is a little unclear.

The term is sometimes used to describe all petty crime committed by individuals who are not employed as professionals, such as executives. However, blue collar is a term reserved for individuals employed in trades work.

This typically means the middle class. So, it could also be said that blue collar crime is small crimes committed by the middle class.

Blue collar crime is typically taken more seriously than white collar crime due to the fact that blue collar crime is more obvious and visible, even though the societal impact of white collar crime is far more serious.

Private Investigators are often tasked with investigating both. Some of the blue collar crimes PIs are asked to investigate can be

  • theft

  • vandalism

Blue collar crimes can also be a little more complex, such as embezzlement and fraud. Private Investigators will investigate these as well.


A Private Investigator will take on a blue collar theft case in situations where law enforcement does not have the resources.

  • This is typically found to be the case with retail theft

Theft in retail environments is often combated with the use of private undercover security, called Loss Prevention Officers (LPO).

LPOs utilize the skills of on-foot surveillance to detect shoplifters.

However, theft at various businesses can be perpetrated by employees.

Private Investigators are a great resource to discover and prevent employee theft, by more sophisticated investigative approaches.


The blue collar crime of vandalism can also be mitigated with the use of Private Investigators.

Unfortunately, law enforcement does not typically have the resources to stop or investigate small scale vandalism. However, a Private Investigator can defiantly help defend and stop vandalism.

This can be done by the investigative service of surveillance or, as with theft, more sophisticated investigative approaches such as discovering the source of the vandalism by investigative interviewing tactics.


Private Investigators investigate simple blue collar crimes such as theft and vandalism; however, blue collar crimes can get a little more complex as seen with embezzlement.

  • Basically, embezzlement is the theft of money from a business by an employee.

If this theft is small scale, law enforcement will usually not be able to give it the investigative recourses it requires. Again, as with the previous examples, Private Investigators will be used to give this blue collar crime the attention it deserves.

Private Investigators will usually utilize the specialized field of forensic accounting to determine the source of the embezzlement.

However, surveillance can also lead to the source of the embezzlement. A Private Investigator can monitor staff and physically view an employee stealing actual banknotes.

blue collar crime


One of the more complex blue collar crimes is fraud, which will often be insurance fraud. Most blue collar insurance fraud investigations will be completed by a Private Investigator who receives a contract from an insurance agency regarding a suspected fraudulent insurance claim.

The insurance agencies' own investigative unit will be called Special Investigative Unit and they often work with Private Investigators.

Occasionally, the SIU Investigator will include an in-house cyber investigation report with the contract. However, it is common for PI agencies to be tasked with completing a cyber investigation report on the blue collar subject of the insurance investigation.

The field work involved with insurance fraud will often be surveillance.

  • Insurance employees will almost never perform surveillance.

This is left to the Private Investigator. After successfully performing an investigation on the blue collar subject, the PI agency will give their evidence and report to the SIU to further their investigation.

blue collar crimes

Unfortunately, blue collar crime will probably always be seen as more serious than white collar crime. The blue collar crimes such as theft, vandalism, embezzlement, and fraud are just more apparent. Blue collar crime does negatively affect society; however, white collar crime can permanently destroy lives. With skilled Private Investigators, the victims of both will at least have some semblance of justice.

About the Author

blue collar

Peter is an Instructor & Co-Founder of Novel Data Investigative Learning with over 14 years as a Professional Private Investigator. Peter has spent more than a decade conducting blue collar crime investigations and security operations throughout the world, primarily for corporations, law firms, and government agencies. Peter has assisted in the creation of numerous investigative & security training programs in various capacities.


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