Crime analysts play a unique role in law enforcement. They typically study and analyze statistics and databases to help predict when and where a crime may occur and to identify potential suspects. Their role is strategic, tactical, and administrative. Strategically, the crime analyst helps departments most effectively utilize and deploy law enforcement officers. Tactically, they work to analyze high-level threats such as abduction, rape and murder. Administratively, they compile crime statistics to help department heads and police chiefs acquire the resources they need.
A crime analyst works both in an office environment and out among the community. Sometimes they accompany detectives and investigators to crime scenes.
Here are some activities a crime analyst might do on a typical day:
Compile and maintain computer databases on criminal activity
Analyze trends in criminal activities in a particular location and prepare maps, graphs and charts for the police department
Retrieve information for law enforcement officers on demand
Generate statistics on arrests, emergency calls, and criminal activity
Utilize data mining and other complex IT techniques to predict criminal behavior
Crime analysts work closely with all law enforcement professionals, including crime scene investigators, detectives and department administration. They need to be well skilled in critical thinking, information technology, CAD and mapping technology.
Crime Analyst Job Education Requirements
Most crime analyst positions require a four-year bachelor's degree in a field such as criminal justice, sociology, psychology or criminology. Coursework should also be heavy in probability and statistics, public administration, computer applications and research methodology. Some jurisdictions require the crime analyst to be a sworn law enforcement officer, which requires graduation from the police academy. Some states also require certification at the state level.
Crime Analyst Job Market
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a growth of 12 percent across all law enforcement careers over the 10-year period of 2012 through 2022. This is about average for all industries in general. Crime analysts with skills in CAD and statistical mapping are considered to have an advantage in this field.
Crime Analyst Job Salary Information
The average starting salary for a crime analyst is $40,620, with skills such as statistical analysis and research analysis having the greatest impact on starting salary. The median salary according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics was $70,620 in 2012, and the average crime analyst stays on the job between five and 10 years before moving into another position.