How Do I Become a Crime Analyst?

If you have an interest in law enforcement and a knack for research, you might wonder how to become a crime analyst. A crime analyst collects and examines law enforcement documents to determine trends in what kinds of crime are on the rise and where and when these violations occur. A crime analyst’s work helps law enforcement agencies strategically place personnel to be able to more efficiently respond to, or even prevent, crimes.

A crime analyst usually works in conjunction with either municipal or county law enforcement agencies to determine trends in those geographic areas. Some crime analysts are police officers, while others are civilian professionals. In some locations, agencies devote an entire unit specifically to crime analysis.

Crime analysts use many sources of information and analytic tools. They pinpoint the locations of crime scenes and disturbances on a map to create a geographical representation of crime within the city or county. They examine official reports to determine what tendencies are common, such as the demographic information of suspects, the locations in which crimes or disturbances occurred, and the days and times these crimes happened most often. Crime analysts use statistical methods, but they also keep track of non-numerical data, such as motives for criminal behavior, methods of committing crimes and any social or psychological factors that seem to have contributed to the violation. In unsolved cases, crime analysts may research the patterns of similar crimes and attempt to create an accurate summary of the traits that are most likely to apply to a suspect, assisting police in narrowing down suspect lists.

The implications of crime analysis are significant. Law enforcement agencies use a crime analyst’s findings to determine how to best use resources. They may alter shifts so that there is a greater police presence in areas where a lot of crime and disruptions occur at the times a crime is most likely to happen. A crime analyst’s work may also be used to warn the public of what criminal threats they may be facing and ways to avoid or prevent crimes.

To begin preparing for a career as a crime analyst, candidates should attend college and earn a bachelor’s degree in a subject such as criminal justice. Other acceptable programs of study include psychology and sociology courses that require a focus on statistical methods. One way for aspiring crime analysts to improve their marketability is to complete internships with law enforcement agencies during their educational career. For crime analysts who are sworn police officers, it is still necessary to meet physical fitness requirements and complete academy training just as other law enforcement officers must do.

Crime analysts earn a median annual salary of $47,888, according to They enjoy high rates of job satisfaction from helping law enforcement agencies better cope with crime. If you want to use your analytical nature to help fight crime, knowing how to become a crime analyst could be the start of a rewarding new career.

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