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Crime analysts use statistical analysis to predict crime trends, in an effort to help law enforcement prevent and respond efficiently to it. One who wants to become a crime analyst begins with a degree from an accredited college or university. Most future crime analysts will focus their studies in criminal justice. However, some major in psychology or information systems, as well as statistics or public administration.
Education is only the beginning step to become a crime analyst, though. Successful candidates will also have extensive computer skills, and experience with Geographical Information Systems (GIS) software that is often used in crime analytics. Statistical skills are required as well, including trend projections and regression analysis. Internships are also very important to becoming a crime analyst, as there are very few crime analyst positions available that don’t require at least one year of on the job experience.
To become a crime analyst, one must be very analytical by nature, and be comfortable with processing large amounts of dry information. Making connections between different events and factors is another duty for crime analysts. Surprising as it may be, those who wants to become a crime analyst need to be as good with people as they are with numbers. Crime analysts are often asked to present their findings to politicians, officers and administrators, so people skills are important. Once a candidate has decided to become a crime analyst, the candidate will choose one of three specialties: Tactical crime analysis, strategic crime analysis, and administrative crime analysis.
Tactical crime analysts focus on crimes that pose an immediate threat to society, such as robbery or burglary. Tactical analysts also work with the numbers on violent crimes like murder and rape. They link offenders with a particular modus operandi (M.O.) to help investigators develop leads and assist their investigations. These analysts deal more with specific crimes than other types of criminal analysts.
Strategic crime analysts work in regard to using police presence to prevent crime. They’re mainly concerned with operational strategies, seeking solutions to ongoing issues. These types of analysts identify crime patterns, and match law enforcement needs with unusual levels of crimes. Strategic crime analysts are more concerned with preventing future crimes than anything else.
The most high profile type of crime analyst is the administrative crime analyst. This analyst works on long-range projects more often than not. He or she creates and presents crime statistics reports for the heads of law enforcement and government. This kind of work centers on legislative and political goals, as well as financial and organizational ones. These types of analysts can be found giving speeches on crime prevention, and researching the relationships between crime and organizations.