What is the Day-to-Day Job of a Crime Analyst?

crime analyst using data on two computer screens
crime analyst using data on two computer screens

Due to the evolution of modern intelligence, there has been a growing need for data analysis in detecting and preventing crime. Across Canadian law enforcement agencies, intelligence-led policing has been essential in combating a complex criminal environment.

Wilfrid Laurier University’s online Master of Public Safety and Public Safety Graduate Diploma programs are designed to help public servants sift through big data, meeting the needs of modern crime prevention. In today’s article, we will explore some of the responsibilities of being a crime analyst to shed light on the role.

Did you know that the average crime analyst salary in Canada is $84,152 per year (in 2021)? Entry-level positions start at $63,905, while most experienced workers make up to $95,101 per year.

The Role of a Crime Analyst

Contrary to popular belief, crime analysts don’t venture off to crime scenes. Most work within the criminal investigative division at their local police station to support detectives and officers on existing cases. Some may even be seasoned police officers themselves. 

According to the International Association of Crime Analysts (IACA), crime analysis is about interpreting data into actionable information to help law enforcement intervene on crime patterns, trends, series, hot spots and long-term problems. Crime analysts stay internal instead of working with the public, diving deeper into data sources and uncovering valuable insights into the crimes that are being reported.

A crime analyst utilizes database research techniques to identify, predict and help prevent crime. By analyzing police and other data, they provide strategic, statistical and investigative support to police forces by developing ways of reducing criminal activities within specific areas. This enables police forces to identify key relationships and make faster, more accurate decisions.

Crime Analyst Duties and Responsibilities

Some core crime analyst job duties and responsibilities include:

Data Research and Analytics

The role is heavily focused on reviewing and gathering large amounts of data. Analysts obtain criminal data from a variety of sources including community crime maps, police reports and interviews to gain more information on the types of crimes being committed in a given area. Utilizing data analysis software including geographical information systems (GIS) and crime mapping systems, they are able to interpret data for the police force and provide actionable intelligence information.

Generating Reports

After research and analysis are complete, crime analysts typically compile reports based on their findings. Reports can include graphs, tables or charts with statistical information on current and potential criminal activity. Findings are extremely helpful in providing recommendations on combating crime and ensuring proper allocation of police resources are given to specific geographical areas. 

Delivering Presentations

In addition to generating reports, analysts are required to present their findings to police officers and supervisors in support of their efforts. Presentations and community meetings are common in the profession to explain the context behind data and provide clarity in-person.  

Crime Analyst Skills & Requirements 

To excel in the role, individuals who want to pursue a career in crime analysis must meet certain requirements and skills in the following areas: 

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree or higher in a field related to criminal justice, statistics or social sciences
  • Have at least 2 years of experience working in a role related to data analysis or law enforcement
  • Possess excellent critical thinking and problem-solving abilities in order to manipulate and analyze information
  • Ideally, have an understanding of Countering Crime and/or GIS and Data Analytics
  • Hold a strong passion for research and statistical methodology
  • Be a strong and precise communicator, both verbally and in writing, to effectively distribute information to others
  • Be technologically adept with advanced computer skills in Excel and other applications

Lastly, crime analysts must have a strong desire and commitment to maintaining public safety. By collaborating with police officers, police departments, the general public and other agencies, their role is impactful and rewarding.

Taking the Lead

To learn more about how Laurier’s online Master of Public Safety program can help progress your career on leading countering crime initiatives and preventing crime before it happens, please get your program guide or set up a time to connect with an enrolment advisor on your schedule.