Fanatical about research and love trawling through data while being a huge fan of fighting crime? Well, as a crime analyst, you get to combine all of those by supporting law enforcement to get the most out of their agencies. Whether you’ve already completed a degree or you’re searching for a direction in life, being a crime analyst may be the perfect role for you. If you’re still reading, that’s great, let’s get stuck into the action and find out what you came here for.
There’s nothing new about criminology. The field has been reaching new heights since the 1970s, largely as a result of the community-based policing initiative. Once upon a time, crime analysts were only found within the ranks of the CSIS, but nowadays every department will employ a crime analyst of some description. Although you won’t be out in the field scraping blood off the pavement and taking part in high-speed chases, you will play a pivotal role behind the scenes by enabling field officers to better do their job. So, if searching through the data and creating new initiatives to better law enforcement sounds viable to you, what are you waiting for!
Education and Training
Like most things in life, it will take hard work to become a crime analyst. You will likely need to gain a degree in criminology or another related field of study at the very least. If you want to pursue your crime analyst dreams, study a master’s in public safety at Wilfred Laurier University. This master’s course will help you drive your career into leadership positions by having a broad understanding of public safety in Canada.
If going back into education doesn’t sound like your ideal path in life, don’t worry. Some agencies are more than happy for you to scrap education altogether and just learn from raw work experience. However, be warned that if you are trying to find experience without a degree-level education, you will struggle to find positions. Before you land yourself a paid job, you will need to put the time in as a volunteer or as an intern. From there, you can spread your wings from the inside.
There’s a third option on the table for you. Some crime analysts serve as law enforcement officers sworn in through the academy. If this option is for you, you can undergo training at the police academy. This takes several years to complete and you will need to rise through the ranks and hit specialist posts to reach your goals.
Duties and Responsibilities
Your job as a crime analyst will be largely office-based and require gathering data and providing practical data to better law enforcement. Although you won’t be out in the field, you will directly support detectives and officers in solving crimes. You will do this by examining reports and finding correlations within data. We have put together some of the primary tasks below:
- Searching for trends and responding to real-time policing issues will help officers be prepared.
- Utilising technology like GIS, reports, and dispatch data, you will communicate with law enforcement both locally and nationally.
- You will assess data over long periods of time and report findings to commanders that will aid them in strategical development.
- You will analyse arrest and reporting data to create location hot spots. These are areas where high numbers of certain crimes take place. With this information, officers can be dispatched to the areas in force.
Typically, you won’t need to be sworn into the police force to become an analyst. This means that you will be travelling down one of many civilian careers in criminal justice. You will work in an office and look at the larger picture as opposed to diving into the particulars of single cases. You will play an important part in building new initiatives and growing the area of community policing. Further, you will be directly involved in the creation of updating policy and advising officers on important safety procedures.
What Skills Do You Need?
You’re going to need a range of skills to perform the role of a crime analyst. You need excellent written and verbal communication as the capacity to interpret data. You will also need to have the ability to transform complex data into easy-to-understand formats. Training, experience, and growth only make up for one side of the coin; you also need to demonstrate the following to beat out the competition:
- Practice your hand at creating effective reports and correspondence in readable formats
- You need flawless time-management skills and the ability to prioritise workflow
- You will have access to extremely sensitive data, so you need to show a faultless level of trustworthiness
- You will work as part of the large world of law enforcement, therefore you need to demonstrate your team skills
- Once you’ve trained and you’ve got the job, you need to grow constantly as the role changes
- Liaise competently with the public, city staff, and anyone else you come across in your line of work
There are other skills that you will need on your side, but those mentioned above will help you get ahead in the game.
Let’s Talk Money
We saved the best part until last. There’s no point in doing all of that if you’re not getting paid for it – you need to keep a roof over your head somehow. Well, luckily for you, the average salary of a crime analyst works out at around $35/hour, which is an admirable annual salary of around $72,000. This pay will depend on location and experience. When you first start, expect to be earning closer to around $34,000.
For those of you with an avid interest in analyzing data and a passion for fighting crime and supporting local law enforcement, this role is perfect for you. Make sure you have the necessary skills, tons of experience, or the necessary training. Securing a job as a crime analyst is only the beginning, since your learning journey will continue throughout your entire career.