The Need for Crime Analysts

The police departments of the future, as is becoming clearer each year, will be about integrating technology' with policing. But, as technology becomes more sophisticated and increasingly critical to police department operations, departments will need to hire more trained and professional crime analysts. In fact, crime analysts are an increasingly necessary resource in today’s policing agencies (Bond, 2015). As we have discussed the different types of crime analysis in this book, it has become clear that crime analysts may bring needed skills and insights into the various tasks of today’s police agency. Although each police department has specific requirements, responsibilities, and needs, at a minimum most departments require skilled crime analysts who can optimize crime mapping software, discover crime trends, pinpoint crime hot spots, and produce informative reports for the agency and the public (Bond, 2015).

More police departments are developing crime analysis units and realtime crime centers (RTCCs, or fusion centers, as they are sometimes called), which must be staffed by qualified and skilled crime analysts. Many departments choose to hire civilian (nonsworn) crime analysts to manage crime mapping efforts, gather and analyze data, and present information in a visual-friendly display for department supervisors to use for tactical, operational, and strategic planning (Bond, 2015).

However, as more crime analysis courses are taught in criminal justice and criminology departments around the United States, more students will be trained to play roles in either crime analysis units or RTCCs. But, to be sure, the role of the crime analyst will continue to evolve as technology' advances. Educated and well-trained crime analysts who want to make a career supporting the needs of law enforcement agencies and the community should find many opportunities (Bond, 2015).

What Makes a Good Crime Analyst?

Are you thinking about becoming a crime analyst after you leave college? Do you have what it takes to be a competent crime analyst?

Opinions differ somewhat concerning what makes a “good” crime analyst. Some crime analysts who were formerly police officers may hold the notion that a good analyst should be a police officer first. A civilian analyst may, on the other hand, believe that an analyst needs to be free of traditional “cop” thinking. Certainly, there are some people who believe that no matter what, a good crime analyst needs a strong background in computers and technology.

While we subscribe to none of these positions in a firm and rigid way, we are of the opinion that a good crime analyst must bring three things to the job: (1) an educational background in criminology or criminal justice; (2) a working knowledge of policing and investigation; and (3) training and skills in computers and statistical analysis.

Yet, one of the drawbacks of this nascent field of crime analysis is that many crime analysts are civilians who are viewed as entry-level employees lacking professionalism (Santos, 2013).This tends to mean that for the most part, and in most police departments, there is little room for advancement, especially for the crime analyst who is not a police officer. So, many crime analysts, in order to get a promotion, must move to a larger police agency, particularly one with a fusion center or real-time crime center (RTCC).

With these limitations stated, there are important skills that are needed in order to be a successful crime analyst. Certainly the three elements of a good crime analyst listed above are essential, but also to be successful in the job, a crime analyst must be able to communicate complex ideas in a clear and down-to-earth manner. Furthermore, the crime analyst must be able to relate to police officers, work within the police culture, think clearly under pressure, defend his or her views on important issues, and keep a sense of humor (Santos, 2013).

Crime Analyst Qualifications and Job Descriptions

Here are two announcements for crime analyst jobs we found recently. The first comes from the website and concerns a crime analyst position opening in West Allis, Wisconsin:

Crime Analyst I

Duties: A Crime Analyst prepares, analyzes, and disseminates information and recommendations relevant to actual and anticipated criminal activity for the purpose of increasing the effectiveness of patrol deployment, crime prevention, criminal investigations, and the apprehension of suspects. An employee in this classification must be adaptable to address changing trends in both technology' and crime.

Typical duties include: assists in researching, analyzing, and collecting data from a variety' of sources to identify and evaluate crime series, patterns, and trends; reviews police officers’ crime and arrest reports, field interviews, and pawn slips for content; provides statistical information to supervisory and management staff as necessary; performs tactical analysis, strategic crime analysis, and administrative analysis dependent on situational demands; conducts and evaluates searches of databases and other information systems to assist in locating suspects and victims and to identify stolen property; provides timely and valuable investigative assistance to sworn law enforcement personnel for the purpose of identifying victims and offenders; assists sworn law enforcement personnel in developing target profiles; uses profiles to track criminals; utilizes a variety' of databases and computer programs to generate maps, hotspots, reports, and statistical and tactical information; assists in reviewing and responding to requests for information related to crime analysis from other divisions, departments, outside agencies, and the public; attends community meetings, department in-service/training programs, and patrol briefings to discuss crime patterns and review current events; reviews crime data to ensure proper reporting to state, regional, and federal agencies; communicates with other jurisdictions regarding mutual crime problems; notifies detectives of possible multi-jurisdictional links between crimes and criminals; assists in preparing and developing crime summaries, statistical reports, spreadsheets, charts, maps, diagrams, graphs, and related materials in order to track and present findings related to criminal activity, patterns, and trends; prepares predictions based upon previous reported activity and an analysis of typical behavior patterns; communicates/coordinates with the City ofWest Allis (COWA) GIS Coordinator regarding the tracking and mapping of information on COWA Internet and Intranet; maintains records and develops reports concerning crime analysis; maintains records for in-house statistics; maintains and files crime analysis and management reports; prepares statistical reports as required; provides staff assistance to Shift Commanders, Crime Prevention Commander and COWA Neighborhood Services staff; attends meetings to maintain awareness of new developments in the field of crime analysis and to share information with others; prepares and assists in the administration of grants and accreditation process, including the preparation of quarterly and annual reports, and other special administrative projects; maintains prompt, predictable, and regular physical attendance; provides truthful and accurate written and verbal communications; maintains the ability to competently and credibly testify in court; performs other related duties as required.

Desirable knowledge, skills, and abilities: Knowledge of the principles and practices of management, research methodology, organizational planning, and statistical analysis; law enforcement and criminal justice systems; laws applicable to record keeping and dissemination of restricted information; microcomputer systems, applications, and software; and training techniques. Ability to communicate clearly both orally and in writing; apply principles, practices, methods, and techniques of public administration, management analysis, and statistics to the gathering, organization, and analysis of data; prepare technical reports with a high degree of skill and clarity; use mainframe and PC based computer systems, including creating, maintaining, and accessing database files; prepare statistical charts, graphs, and exhibits; and establish and maintain effective work relationships with supervisors, other employees, the public, and other government officials; maintain physical condition appropriate to the performance of assigned duties and responsibilities which may include sitting for extended periods of time and operating assigned office equipment; maintain effective audiovisual discrimination and perception needed for making observations, communicating with others, reading and writing, and operating assigned office equipment; maintain mental capacity which allows for effective interaction and communication with others.

Minimum requirements: Associates Degree in Criminal Justice, Crime Analysis or related field or at least 60 college credits from an accreditedcollege or university and/or attendance at an approved crime analyst certification program; or an equivalent combination of education and experience that would likely provide the required knowledge and abilities; or three to five years of recent responsible paid work experience in criminal justice crime analysis, research, or a combination thereof.

Competent in the use of office computers and applicable software, including but not limited to, Microsoft Office Suite, GIS, SQL, report management systems, graphing programs, and statistical programs.

Pass a police background check due to access to confidential Police Department information.

Possess the physical capacity to perform the duties of the position including, but not limited to, continuous sitting, walking, and standing; occasional lifting/carrying up to 20 lbs.; continuous stretching/ reaching of arms; continuous arching of neck; the ability to occasionally bend, kneel, twist, stoop, squat, pull, push, etc.; and the ability to continuously focus for long periods of time on projects or while working on computers.

Salary: The 2015West Allis resident hourly rate range is S20.86 to S23.47. The non-West Allis resident hourly rate range is $20.43 to $23.00.

Benefits: Benefits include vacation accrual upon date of hire based on the vacation schedule; a sickness disability benefit plan; twelve (12) paid holidays; a comprehensive health insurance plan (which is contributory) covering the employee and his/her family, with eligibility the first of the month following thirty (30) days of service; fully paid dental insurance covering the employee and his/her family, with eligibility the first of the month following six (6) months of service; a dual pension system comprised of the Wisconsin Retirement Fund[1] and federal Social Security' (both of which are contributory); after six (6) months of service, a fully paid life insurance program1 with coverage in the amount of the employees annual salary adjusted to the next highest one thousand dollars, with the option for additional coverage; an educational reimbursement plan for the pursuit of job related courses; and voluntary' benefit programs consisting of Section 125: Flexible Benefits for Dependent Care and Medical Reimbursement, Section 457: Deferred Compensation, TreasuryDirect Payroll Savings Plan for Savings Bonds, Employee Assistance Program (EAP), and Employee Wellness Program.

Here is one from the San Jose, California, Police Department:

Job title: Program Manager—Crime Analysis (Full Time)

Salary Min:


Salary Max:




Full Time Regular

About the department: The City of San Jose, the Capital of Silicon Valley, is one of the nation’s best managed cities and one of the top ten cities in which to live, work, and do business. Moreover, San Jose is the center of cultural, government and economic activity for the region. The employees of the City of San Jose have embraced the following values: Integrity, Innovation, Excellence, Collaboration, Respect and Celebration. The San Jose Police Department is seeking an individual whose values align with the values of the City’s employees. The mission of the San Jose Police Department is to create safe places to live, work and learn through community partnerships.

Position and duties: The San Jose Police Department (SJPD) is recruiting to fill a Crime Analysis Program Manager in the Research and Development Unit (R&D). R&D is in the Office of the Chief of Police and is responsible for research and preparation of complex reports and specialized projects involving inter-Departmental issues and intergovernmental topics. The Crime Analysis team analyzes crime data, produces crime-related reports, and ensures accurate and timely reporting of crime data to the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, other City departments and police management. Under the direction of a Lieutenant, the Crime Analysis Program Manager is responsible for managing all functions of the Crime Analysis Unit by performing work of considerable difficulty in planning, coordinating, and directing the utilization of complex computerized systems for crime analysis functions; insures the accuracy and integrity of the various databases; provides management support and specialized expertise to users of crime data, systems analysts, and operations personnel.

The essential functions of this position are as follows:

Plan, implement, and manage the Crime Analysis Program; establish objectives; maintain project timelines for various projects; ensure efficient utilization of resources; and administer program budget.

Establish and/or direct the development of detailed procedures to retrieve, integrate, and analyze crime data, including data sharing and data transfer. Perform complex statistical analyses to monitor crime levels throughout the City and to support strategic deployment of police resources. Summarize statistics into concise reports for review by the Mayor and Council, City Managers Office and Police Command personnel. Supervise subordinates and professional staff in a manner which they are able to prioritize assigned work; conduct performance evaluations, and ensure that staff member(s) are properly trained. Anticipate, plan and implement actions to solve problems effectively. Performs related work as required.

This recruitment may be used to fill multiple positions in this, or other divisions or departments. If you are interested in employment in this classification, you should apply to ensure you are considered for additional opportunities that may utilize the applicants from this recruitment.

Minimum qualifications:

Education: Bachelors Degree from an accredited college or university in public or business administration, information management, criminal justice, statistics, computer science or other related field.

Experience: Five (5) years of paid, increasingly responsible experience in crime analysis, including two (2) years of supervisory experience.

Background: Submit to and successfully pass a comprehensive background investigation as required by the SJPD.

Employment Eligibility: Federal law requires all employees to provide verification of their eligibility to work in this country. Please be informed that the City of San Jose will not prepare or file a labor condition application with the Department of Labor.

Desirable qualifications: Possession of certification in Crime and Intelligence Analysis from the California Department ofjustice with the designation of Certified Crime and Intelligence Analyst for the State of California or its equivalent.

Competencies: The ideal candidate will possess the following competencies, as demonstrated in past and current employment history. Desirable competencies for this position include:

Job Expertise—demonstrates knowledge of and experience with applicable professional/technical principles and practices, Citywide and departmental procedures/policies and federal and state rules and regulations including but not limited to: law enforcement systems and software; theory, principles, practices, and methods of crime analysis; geographic information systems (GIS) and intelligence applications.

Supervision—sets effective long and short-term goals based on sound leadership and management practices; establishes realistic priorities within available resources.

Analytical Thinking—approaches a situation or problem by defining the problem or issue; identifies a set of features, parameters, or considerations to take into account, collects and analyzes data, uses logic and intuition to arrive at conclusions and recommendations.

Communication Skills—Communicates and listens effectively and responds in a timely, effective, positive, and respectful manner; written reports and correspondences are accurate, complete, current, well-organized, legible, concise, neat, and in proper grammatical form.

Team Work and Interpersonal Skills—Demonstrates a positive attitude and flexibility along with the ability to develop effective relationships with staff, colleagues, and the City’s departments by helping others accomplish tasks and using collaboration and conflict resolution skills.

Collaboration—develops networks and builds alliances; engages in cross-functional activities.

Change Management—demonstrates support for innovation and for organizational changes needed to improve the organization’s effectiveness; facilitates the implementation and acceptance of change within the workplace.

Planning—acts to align own units goals with the strategic direction of the organization.

Selection process: The selection process will consist of an evaluation of the applicant’s training and experience based on the application and responses to the Job-Specific Questions. Only the candidates whose backgrounds best match the position will be invited to proceed in the selection process. Additional phases of the selection process will consist of one or more interviews, one of which may include a practical/ writing exercise.

You will be prompted to answer the following job-specific questions during the online application process:

Do you have a Bachelors Degree from an accredited college or university in public or business administration, information management, criminal justice, statistics, computer science or other related field? If yes, please indicate the name of the college or university and degree.

Do you have at least five (5) years of paid, increasingly responsible experience in crime analysis? If yes, describe your duties and list where you obtained your experience (your answer must correspond to the detailed information provided in your application).

Do you have two (2) years of experience supervising staff? If yes, please describe the number of staff you have supervised and where you obtained this experience (your answer must correspond to the detailed information provided in your application).

Do you possess a Crime and Intelligence Analysis Certification from the California Department of Justice or equivalent? If so, please list any and all relevant certification^) you possess.

Do you have experience using computer applications for crime and intelligence analysis? If so, describe your experience including the applications you have used for crime and intelligence analysis, your level of expertise with the application(s),and examples of the work performed.

Do you have experience managing a program? If yes, please describe the program you managed, the number of personnel you managed for the program, and include the level and scope of all other related responsibilities.

Do you have experience in summarizing statistics into accurate, well-organized, written reports or correspondence? If so, please describe the nature of the reports and to whom they were presented or ultimately utilized.

You may answer these questions directly in the on-line application system or on a separate document and then cut and paste your answers into the appropriate spaces when prompted.

You must answer all job-specific questions in order to be considered for this vacancy or your application will be deemed incomplete and withheld from farther consideration.

Application instructions: Submission of a resume is optional. The Education History andWork History sections of the application must be completed or the application will be considered to be incomplete and may be withheld from further consideration.

Application must be completed or the application will be considered to be incomplete and may be withheld from further consideration.

E-mail is the default method of communication with applicants. To ensure that you receive timely notification regarding your application status, please provide a current e-mail address when submitting your application. It is also recommended that you adjust any spam filters to ensure that you can receive e-mails from

The application deadline is 11:59 PM on the final filing date. Please allow adequate time to complete the application and submit before the deadline or the system may not save your application.

If your online application was successfully submitted, you will receive an automatic confirmation email to the email address you provided.

(San Jose Police Department, 2015)

As is evident from these two crime analyst job postings, the job market is varied in terms of different types of positions available and with divergent salary ranges. However, as is also readily apparent from these job descriptions, the skills and qualifications for a crime analyst can be extensive and broad.

  • [1] The Wisconsin Retirement Fund and Life Insurance program benefits are provided according to plan guidelines of the State of Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds.
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