Crime Analysts


Education and Training Requirements

High School

In high school, work on your writing skills. Crime analysts must be able to write for a variety of audiences, from street cops to the city council. A good foundation in algebra will help with statistics classes in college. Statistics classes are also useful. Moreover, take advantage of your school's computer lab, as basic knowledge of computers, word processing, spreadsheets, and databases is important. Psychology classes will help you to understand human behavior. Finally, take any classes (such as philosophy, government, and science) that help you to develop your critical-thinking skills (which are important for success as a crime analyst).

Postsecondary Training

The majority of agencies require a bachelor's degree for the position of crime analyst. Excellent degrees paths to consider include those in statistics, criminal justice, computer science, data analytics, and sociology. A small, but growing, number of colleges and universities now offer degrees and certificates in crime analysis.

Other Education or Training

The International Association of Crime Analysts offers webinars such as Fundamentals of Crime Analysis, Crime Analysis for Smaller Jurisdictions, Tactical Crime Analysis, and Computer Applications for Crime Analysis. The International Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysts, American Society of Criminology, and National Criminal Justice Association also provide professional development opportunities. 

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

The International Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysts offers the basic analyst, criminal intelligence certified analyst, and lifetime criminal intelligence certified analyst credentials to members who meet educational and experience requirements and pass an examination. The International Association of Crime Analysts offers the certified law enforcement analyst designation to members with three years of experience who pass an examination and meet other requirements. Contact these organizations for more information. 

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

An internship during college is the best way to get a foot in the door and gain on-the-job experience. Most units rely heavily on interns for support because of lean department budgets. Contact a unit and ask to speak with its crime analyst. You will have a better chance of obtaining an internship if you stress that you are organized, computer literate, and have a basic understanding of statistics. Interns often initially begin by reading police reports, learning how to glean significant facts and patterns from them.

Crime analysts are the kind of people who are interested in finding patterns, solving puzzles, and making connections. They must be able to pore over data and present their findings to police officers and law enforcement administrators. They are organized, good time managers, and strong communicators. Crime analysts are not the stars of the show, so they should be comfortable being behind the scenes, sitting at their desks, and finding information that could be integral to solving crimes. A background in criminal justice, statistics, writing, and computer skills are most necessary in the success of this job.