What You'll Do in a Crime Analyst Career
Many crime analysts are civilians working in police departments or other law enforcement agencies. Law enforcement officers may also be appointed to crime analysis positions. According to the International Association of Crime Analysts, though, civilian analysts generally pursue more training, become certified and tend to stay in the field longer.
Analysts collect, compile, analyze and interpret data that comes from daily police reports and other law enforcement documents and non-law enforcement sources. Data analysis is conducted using complex statistical and mapping software. The results are then used to prepare maps, graphs and reports that help determine crime patterns, crime trends, law enforcement personnel allocations and related items. This data is used to predict and prevent future crimes. Crime analysts may present these findings to law enforcement administration, major crime and investigators.
Crime analyst duties may often focus on current serial robbery, rape and murder investigations. Analysts are involved in creating suspect profiles utilizing and correlating available statistics about the crimes and criminal M.O. (modus operandi) that will hopefully identify a suspect for arrest.
Crime analyst duties often focus on current serial robbery, rape and murder investigations. Analysts are involved in creating suspect profiles utilizing and correlating available statistics about the crimes and criminal motives in an effort to identify a suspect for arrest.
Learn How to Become a Crime Analyst
The requirements to become a crime analyst can vary depending on a police department's location and size. The minimum requirements, based on recent job postings, are a bachelor degree in criminal justice, information systems, public administration, psychology, statistics or a related degree. Some police departments may accept a bachelor's degree in any field emphasizing statistics, math, science, data analysis, and/or problem-solving. Knowledge of statistical and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) software, Microsoft access, Windows, working with Excel and other relevant programs is useful. It's also helpful to have knowledge of statistical methods such as, regression analysis and trend projections.
The ability to communicate and interact with administration, members of law enforcement and the public is another valuable asset. Many of the job postings we found required at least one to three years of experience in addition to a bachelor's degree. The higher paying positions with management responsibilities preferred applicants with a master's level degree.
The bottom line: If you want to become a crime analyst, your first step should be to earn a bachelor's degree and get as much experience in statistical analysis as you can through elective courses and internships. Internships with your local police department's crime analysis department can provide invaluable experience.
Crime Analyst Salary and Job Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2012-13 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median national annual salary for forensic science technicians, within which crime analysts are classified, is $51,570. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.
If you think this might be the career for you, get the degree you need to succeed at any of the accredited schools below.