Crime Analyst Job Description

Crime analysts support policing and crime prevention activities by applying statistical modeling and quantitative analysis to crime data to derive insights on crime patterns and prevalence. In this role, crime analysts consider a number of data sources ranging from police reports to mapping and GIS data to recognize trends and patterns and develop strategies to reduce criminal activities and prevent crime from taking place.

This role requires an excellent grasp of statistical methodologies, the ability to develop working hypotheses based on complex data, and close collaboration with law enforcement personnel to enact crime prevention and proactive policing strategies. Most crime analysts work within a police department, although law enforcement agencies at all levels may employ their expertise.

 

Crime Analyst Duties and Responsibilities

Based on postings that we analyzed, crime analysts share several core responsibilities in any law enforcement agency:

Gather Crime Data

One of the crime analyst’s primary duties is gathering crime data for a specific geographical area or jurisdiction. The crime analyst correlates information from police reports with map data and community reports to gain a complete sense of crimes committed in an area. Crime analysts may also conduct interviews with individuals reporting crimes or the officers investigating those incidents to gain more information.

Conduct Data Analysis

After gathering relevant data, the crime analyst uses a number of quantitative and qualitative methods to assess the data and derive insights. They may use statistical and probability modeling to determine the likelihood of crimes, develop maps showing areas of concentrated criminal activity, and develop criminal profiles based on careful analysis of crime patterns and occurrences.

Prepare Crime Reports

Crime analysts develop a variety of reports to support policing activities. These reports often include graphs and tables displaying compiled crime information from a specific time period, as well as statistical and probability information about potential criminal activity. They may also write reports on patterns they identify during the analysis process and reports in which they draw conclusions about current and future criminal activity in a given area.

Develop Crime Prevention Strategies

Working closely with law enforcement personnel, crime analysts develop strategies for crime prevention and reduction. In some cases, these strategies can include community outreach efforts to encourage accurate reporting of crimes. Crime analysts also consider the impact of these strategies and identify opportunities to effectively police areas without negatively impacting the surrounding community.

Present Findings to Law Enforcement Personnel

In addition to preparing reports about crime data, crime analysts also conduct in-person presentations for police officers and other law enforcement personnel. They may prepare handouts that provide easy access to necessary information, develop slideshows to help visualize and share data with officers, and explain their methods to supervisors to support their findings.

 

Crime Analyst Skills and Qualifications

Crime analysts use qualitative and quantitative methods to track, predict, and prevent crime. Police organizations tend to hire candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree and the following skills:

  • Analytical skills – crime analysts assess large sets of data to support crime prevention and policing, so effective analytical skills are a necessity in this role
  • Pattern recognition – crime analysts identify crime patterns using a variety of techniques, so they should be able to determine patterns based on data from several different sources
  • Collaboration – crime analysts work closely with police departments and officers, so they should be able to collaborate and coordinate their activities to support common goals and promote public safety
  • Strategic thinking – in addition to analyzing data to derive insights, crime analysts play an important role in developing community and policing strategies to predict, prevent, and reduce crime
  • Communication skills – written and verbal communication are important in this role, since crime analysts prepare reports and present information to law enforcement personnel

 

Tools of the Trade

Crime analysts tend to work in police stations and should be able to use standard office equipment and software in addition to the following:

  • GIS software (ArcView, CrimeMap Pro)
  • Data visualization software (Signal, PROVE)

 

Crime Analyst Education and Training

Generally, crime analysts have at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field such as criminal justice or statistics. Additionally, many police organizations prefer candidates who have some experience in law enforcement, crime analyst certification, and a solid grasp of data gathering, verification, and analysis. In many cases, crime analysts must undergo extensive background checks and polygraph tests before beginning work in this role.

 

Crime Analyst Salary and Outlook

Crime analyst salaries can vary widely based on geographic location and prior experience in the field. While the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide salary estimates for this role, both Glassdoor and PayScale have gathered data related to pay for crime analysts. According to PayScale, crime analysts earn an average salary of $46,720 per year based on 191 reported salaries. Glassdoor has not gathered enough data to provide an accurate average salary, but it reports a pay range that starts at $36,000 and goes up to $62,000.

The BLS does not provide employment outlook data for crime analysts, but its estimates for similar roles (such as intelligence analysts and forensic science technicians) estimate rapid growth in these fields through 2026.

 

Helpful Resources

We searched the web and found several resources if you’d like to learn more about working as a crime analyst:

International Association of Crime Analysts – crime analysts can join IACA to access educational materials, keep up with industry developments, and connect with others in the field

Crime Analysis with Crime Mapping – this core textbook for crime analysts uses real-world field examples to balance theory and practice and illustrate crime analysis and mapping concepts

“Crime Analysts Fight Crime from Behind a Keyboard” – this blog post explores the role of the crime analyst, including a look at their day-to-day duties and data regarding their effectiveness in preventing and reducing crime

Exploring Crime Analysis – published by the International Association of Crime Analysts, this book explores the fundamental skills and core knowledge that a crime analyst needs to successfully support police work and crime prevention activities

 

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