This article was written by a contributing author and is not meant to be taken as legal advice or otherwise. Kindly contact us if you have any suggestions to improve this article here.
Crimes occur every day. Criminal acts are solved by criminologists or crime analysts who collect evidence and research specific patterns and data. They can piece information together to identify possible solutions they can use to solve the crime and put the offenders in jail. The job description of a crime analyst is to work hand-in-hand with law enforcement officers to build rock-solid cases using the evidence that was given to them.
What Is a Crime Analyst?
When any criminal activity has occurred, evidence is left behind at the crime scene as well as in other places. Anywhere the offender goes, evidence is carried along with them. It is the job of a crime scene analyst to follow the evidence and prepare crime reports that law enforcement personnel can use to help build a case. Once the evidence has been collected, analyzed and possible crime patterns identified, everything is turned over to the District Attorney so charges can be filed and the defendant charged with the crime.
What Are the Key Tasks Attributed to a Crime Analyst?
A crime analyst is in charge of many essential tasks when it comes to collecting evidence. They must collect, categorize, and analyze each piece so that police officers can use the resulting crime reports to identify potential suspects. If trends and patterns are identified, criminal psychology is used to predict the suspect’s next moves.
- Identifying patterns and trends – Patterns and trends can be used to identify future criminal acts.
- Researching long and short-term issues – Both long and short-term issues begin to present themselves during an investigation.
- Producing accurate information as needed – It is up to the crime analyst to provide data analysis that is 100% accurate and irrefutable.
- Developing the right criminal intelligence tools – A crime analyst must also be able to create various criminal intelligence tools that will allow them to compare or analyze evidence.
- Enhancing the image of your department – A good crime analyst knows that the quality of work they provide will reflect on their department.
- Excellent communication – Excellent communication skills are needed to relay information accurately and precisely.
Specializations for Crime Analysis
Crime analysis takes many forms. Violent crimes use forensics, while many white-collar crimes require intelligence and strategic analysis. Understanding the type of crime that is being investigated and the frequency, or lack of it, is essential to the analysis process.
- Criminal Investigative Analysis
- Intelligence Analysis
- Strategic Crime Analysis
- Tactical Crime Analysis
- Administrative Crime Analysis
Steps You Must Take to Become a Criminal Analyst
Aspiring crime analysts need to follow a few steps in order to achieve their goals and find the job that best suits them. If criminal intelligence analyst is a job you may be interested in, the following steps will guide you.
- Earn your high school diploma – Complete four years of high school and earn your high school diploma. You can also obtain the equivalent by sitting for and passing a GED. Strive to get the highest grades possible. There are scholarships available for students who earn top scores in all of their classes.
- Earn a Bachelor’s degree – After completing high school, the next step is to earn a Bachelor’s degree in data analysis, with a focus on criminal psychology, criminal trends, and criminal investigation techniques.
- Get Certified – Once you have earned your degree, the next step is to prove that you can apply everything you’ve learned. In order for you to do this, you will need to get certified. The certification process will vary from state to state and organization to organization. You may be able to receive your certification through a police department, but it’s better to be certified by a state or federal law enforcement agency or organization.
- Find a job and earn experience – Once you have your certification, you can begin to apply for jobs that will allow you to get your foot in the door. You may be able to begin work as an apprentice or intern within your local police agency. Start your career planning early, and you may be able to apply for a job before you are certified.
Ways to Improve on Your Career
If you are striving to become any type of analyst in the criminal justice or law enforcement field, there are ways you can improve your career and further your career. While you are in college earning your degree, take elective classes that will enhance your investigative skills and help you become more efficient when it comes to researching crime trends and data. Classes that are from the criminal justice field are most helpful. The tools and skills you gain will give you the insight you need to be efficient no matter what type of job you choose.
Why Is Continuing Education so Important?
Once you have earned your certification, you will need to complete a specific number of continuing education courses each year. Most certification programs require continuing education courses to be completed over the span of two years and yearly fees to be paid to keep them in good standing. Depending on the type of certification, you may also have to complete other types of requirements as well. It’s essential that you know what requirements are associated with your certification program so that you can keep it from lapsing.
Ways to Build Experience
In addition to your continuing education, there are ways you can build the experience that will increase your earning potential over time. When you first find a job in a police department, you may not be working as a crime analyst. You may start working in a lab or as part of a forensics team. You may need to work in one of these positions until a crime analyst job becomes available.
If you have earned a Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, you may be able to find part-time work as an apprentice to a private investigator or an independent lab that analyzes data and other evidence for local law enforcement agencies. Working in a law office will give you an idea of how the other half of the judicial system works.
Increasing Your Earning Potential
Increasing your earning potential starts while you are still in high school. Getting the best grades in high school and college will lay the foundation for a long and productive career in criminal investigative analysis. While in school, you can become part of research groups or find work in a law office that will give you the background you need to be efficient when it comes to analyzing data.
Another way to dramatically increase your earning potential is to maintain the highest quality standards in everything you do. Never settle for sub-quality work. Going the extra mile to ensure 100% accuracy is the key to receiving the highest possible salary. With a few years of experience and quality education, you can be earning as much as $79,900 per year. Individuals who are just starting out will make considerably less, but the wages will continue to increase over time.
Employment Outlook for Crime Analysts
Crime analysts known for their exceptional skills in organizing and analyzing data will always be able to find work. Over the next few years, the employment outlook for all types of analysts will continue to increase. Part of the reason for this is the need to be more efficient, especially when it comes to homeland security and public administration. Every police agency will need to be able to be self-sufficient and as independent as possible when it comes to managing its own data.
Becoming a crime analyst can lead you down a path that is both exciting and extremely rewarding. When you choose your career path, it’s up to you to make the most of it. With the right education and taking advantage of opportunities to gain more experience, you will be able to enjoy a career that allows you to shine.
Make the most out of every opportunity you receive. Do your research. Take on a side job that allows you to explore all of your options. You are in charge of your career. Choose the right specialization, and you will always enjoy your work. In addition to analyzing crime, you may also be able to participate in crime prevention programs as well. Build your career from the ground up and you will be able to make a difference within your chosen career field.