Crime analysis is a job where people do research into the causes of different crimes. This may involve gathering a lot of data from criminal activities in different regions. Once the data is gathered, someone working in crime analysis will look for any sort of pattern that might be useful for those involved in actual law enforcement. People working in crime analysis may work for local or federal police departments, and they might also find work with other organizations involved in crime research or prevention.
The biggest part of a crime analysis job is often related to data gathering. For example, if it is determined that crime is rising in a particular area, a crime analyst might be asked to determine what has changed. To do this, the analyst might have to look at the nature of the crimes themselves and also the demographic changes in the region. Something like a rise in unemployment could potentially be responsible for a rise in crime, and these are often the sorts of big changes experts look for in crime analysis.
Another thing that sometimes concerns crime analysts is exactly why certain crimes tend to occur in certain places. Sometimes this involves looking in more detail at the criminals, but it can also involve a study of the victims. Determining what people and businesses do to make themselves look like easy targets is often a large part of crime analysis. Once cops know what the criminals are looking for, they might be able to adjust their approach and become more effective.
Another aspect of crime analysis is simply gathering public opinion. There are situations where someone working in this job might almost function like a pollster. For example, the analyst might need to examine what the likely public response would be to a new law-enforcement approach or determine what parents think are the causes for criminal behavior in teens. Sometimes law enforcement professionals need this kind of public information to help target future research endeavors or make plans about dealing with crime without disrupting the community.
Once all the data is gathered, someone working in crime analysis may have to provide law enforcement with some general guidelines based on that advice. Sometimes this may take the form of suggesting strategic approaches that make sense based on the available evidence. This advice can be fairly rudimentary and involve things like suggested patrol patterns, but it can also be very broad in scope, dealing with the fundamental elements of proactive crime prevention.