Crime Analyst: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

A crime analyst requires specialized undergraduate formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and certification to see if this is the right career for you.

Essential Information

Crime analysts, also known detectives or private investigators, aid law enforcement officers by studying crime and suspects. They also help police identify where a crime may take place and try to prevent that crime. A bachelor's degree is typically required in order to work in this field,

Required Education Varies; high school diploma may be sufficient for entry-level work, though an associate's or bachelor's degree is preferred
Other Requirements Private detective license
Projected Job Growth* 11% between 2012 and 2022 (Private detectives and investigators)
Median Salary (2013)* $46,250 (Private detectives and investigators)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description

Crime analysts study criminal patterns in an effort to predict the time, place and day that a crime might occur. They do this by way of computer databases that they design in order to gather and study criminal data. Crime analysts not only use the information they gather to identify criminals but to target possible suspects as well.

There are three types of data that crime analysts use: tactical, administrative and strategic. Tactical analysis is concerned with immediate and high level threats such as murders, theft, rape and abduction. Strategical analysis is focused on properly deploying and utilizing law enforcement officers. The administrative side of analyzing crime concentrates on supplying the heads of law enforcement agencies with their findings and making sure that the police have the resources that they need to perform their jobs.

Duties of a Crime Analyst

A crime analyst needs to be proficient with using computers, because they use computer programs combined with statistical data to map possible criminal activity and to create visual presentations such as spreadsheets, maps and graphs to show police officers. Crime analysts also work with the community in order to make the town safer and to decrease the likelihood of future crimes. They use information such as receipts, insurance information and other accounts in order to create a database of criminal activity. These databases must be updated and maintained in order for them to be effective. An analyst may be asked by a detective or police officer to conduct research on a particular criminal behavior to see if they are able to find any leads.

Education Requirements

Crime analysts usually need a bachelor's degree with an emphasis on criminal justice, public administration, sociology, statistics and research methodology. In order to complete more formal training, analysts may need to become state certified. To qualify for a position, some police agencies require crime analysts to have some experience working in a law enforcement atmosphere. Other agencies look for applicants who are well-versed in observing and assessing information. According to the Arizona Association of Crime Analysts, analysts may be subject to a polygraph and background test since they will be handling sensitive information during the course of their career (www.aacaonline.org).

Career and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that private detectives and investigators, including crime analysts, could expect a job growth rate of 11% from 2012-2022. It was further reported that these jobs paid a median salary of $46,250 in 2013.

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