What is Crime Analysis?
Crime analysis is a law enforcement function that involves systematic analysis for identifying and analyzing patterns and trends in crime and disorder. Information on patterns can help law enforcement agencies deploy resources in a more effective manner, and assist detectives in identifying and apprehending suspects. Crime analysis also plays a role in devising solutions to crime problems and formulating crime prevention strategies.
The International Association of Crime Analysts (IACA) states the crime analysis is “both a profession and a set of techniques.” According to the IACA, the information provided helps:
- Solve crimes
- Develop effective strategies and tactics to prevent future crimes
- Find and apprehend offenders
- Prosecute and convict offenders
- Prioritize patrol and investigation
- Detect and solve community problems
- Plan for future resource needs
- Enact effective policies
- Educate the public
Crime analysts work behind the scenes reviewing police reports with the purpose of identifying patterns. Most police departments employ analysts. Different law enforcement departments and agencies use different titles. Some of the many titles are police analysts, management analysts, intelligence analysts, research analysts, and planning analysts.
What degrees apply to Crime Analysis?
We will answer the question by looking at job postings from major employment sites to determine which degrees apply to the profession. Since most cities employ crime analysts, what do their job requirements reveal about education? We selected these at random to use solely as examples. Most of the posted jobs require experience, which is secondary to our intent to illustrate the knowledge and skills needed in crime analysis for city police departments.
- The Crime Analyst uses a variety of data sources, manual and computerized applications to analyze and consolidate statistical information in the forms of reports, mapping, charts, and graphs on a wide variety of subjects; tracks crime trends statistically; performs analysis of data, and responds to requests for information, and research.
Most of the preferred degrees are a Bachelor of Arts or Science degree in criminology, statistics, information systems, GIS, or related field. A geographic information system (GIS) is a system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present all types of geographical data.
- The job requires the collection, collation, analysis, and dissemination of the data collected including, but not limited to, crime, arrests, calls for service, and traffic data. A Master’s Degree from an accredited college or university with major coursework in Criminology, Criminal Justice, Police Science, Public Administration, Computer Sciences, Mathematics, Statistical Analysis, Information Management, or a related field.
A Bachelor’s degree in the same majors will suffice with a year of experience. An Associate’s degree is acceptable provided applicant has three years of experience. Samples of more online job postings:
3. A major university/medical institution seeks a Crime Data Analyst. Some of the duties require the person to conduct research and strategic crime analysis to identify crime patterns and trends. The individual will also analyze long-term crime patterns and trends using probability study and complex statistical analyses such as random samplings, correlation, and regression analysis.
4. In the non-governmental sector, an international media conglomerate seeks a Senior Analyst. The responsibilities include tracking and analyzing emerging threats domestically and internationally. The person will serve as a subject matter expert for the Latin American region. This involves international terrorism, geopolitical risks, economic developments in the entertainment sector, international cybercrime, and the cyber-security environment for business operations in the region. Preferred degree is a Master’s Degree in International Relations, Political Science, Global Security Studies, Strategic Studies, or National Security.
5. An Institute of Technology has a posting for a Crime Research Analyst. This learning institution performs research and analytical tasks for the state of New York. The primary duties require the analyst to collect, compile, validate, interpret, and analyze data and trends using standard practices and techniques of crime, and/or intelligence analysis. Minimum qualifications are a Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited college/ university in criminal justice, criminology, public administration, or a related field plus experience in the field of criminology, criminal justice research, or criminal justice policy.
The job postings highlight the diversity in degrees applicable to crime analysis. In order to qualify for some of these positions, you must be able to pass National Security background check and obtain a Top-Secret Level security clearance. The background checks are intensive as they reveal any prior encounters with the law. There are interviews with family, associates, and college professors. Too many past indiscretions can preclude you from obtaining security clearance.
In addition to analysis and research, the role of a crime analyst demands effective communication-oral and written. A function of analyzing data is the ability to communicate your findings. This could be a PowerPoint presentation, written report, or oral presentation to senior staff.
Once established as a crime analyst, the IACA offers a Certified Law Enforcement Analyst Program. You must have at least at least three years of full-time experience as an analyst in the field of law enforcement, intelligence, corrections, or related fields. The applicant must also be a current member of the International Association of Crime Analysts. Their comprehensive training and credentialing program provide analysts, as well as departments, both the framework for excellence and the mechanism for achieving it.