The Atlantic plucks an unexpected data point out of the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics study on fatal workplace injuries: One of the top causes on the list (after things like falling and traffic accidents) is homicide, with some 500 reported in 2016. The Atlantic uses that as a jumping-off point to look at what may fuel a portion of those deaths. "Red-collar crime" is a term coined by Frank Perri in 2005, and it refers to white-collar criminals who resort to murder to try to keep their schemes—think fraud or forgery—going. The Atlantic gives some hypotheticals: "a boss who kills his assistant to keep a Ponzi scheme afloat, or a crooked accountant who poisons an especially thorough auditor." But there are also real-life examples, with Forbes in January pointing to a "red-collar crime" involving a Tampa, Fla., exec with Anchor-Glas.
He was suspected of committing securities fraud; he murdered his wife and two teenagers before committing suicide. Those victims weren't co-workers, and the Atlantic notes the number of red-collar crimes isn't quantified, as OSHA and the FBI don't keep a count (though BLS stats show only about 14% of men and women murdered at work in 2016 were killed by coworkers or work associates, with other perpetrators including patients, students, robbers, and relatives). And even if those groups did keep track, certified fraud examiner Richard Brody—who said in 2014 that he and Perry "are probably the only two people in the world currently writing about red-collar crime"—thinks their count would be too low. "Whenever I read about high-profile executives who are found dead, I immediately think red-collar crime. Lots of people are getting away with murder." (Read more homicide stories.)