If you are interested in solving crimes and reducing criminal activity, but aren’t sure you want to be on the front lines of law enforcement, a career as a criminal analyst may be a good fit for you. Although police officers and other law enforcement personnel can be criminal analysts, most analysts are civilians working behind the scenes to help guide and maximize the efforts of law enforcement personnel. It should be noted that the terms "criminal analyst" and "crime analyst" are used interchangeably.
Digging up Details
Criminal analysts collect information about crimes as well as relevant economic, geographic and social data. They look for patterns and trends and report what they find to police officers, government officials and others who work to prevent crime. The reports generated by criminal analysts are used in a variety of ways, including helping police to determine where more patrols are needed or identifying crimes that indicate an increase in gang or drug activity. Criminal analysts also may prepare reports detailing emergency response times, traffic violations or information about parolees and wanted persons. Analysts are sometimes involved in criminal profiling as well and are often asked to help identify crimes related to a specific individual or crime networks.
Behind the Paycheck
Crime analysts must have a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, public administration, statistics, information systems or related fields. Some states also require their own certification. The average salary for criminal analysts in 2012 was $52,840 a year.
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