What Does a Criminologist Do?

CriminologistCriminology involves studying crimes and those who commit them and there are many aspects to what a criminologist does. Criminologists study and evaluate the nature of many different types of crime and the criminals responsible. They commonly work for law enforcement agencies, academic institutions, and correctional facilities. Job duties for criminologists include conducting research, developing theories, investigating crime scenes, and composing reports.

Conduct Thorough Research

Research is a major part of what a criminologist does. Criminologists conduct extensive research on crimes and why they happen. They focus on the education, family life, behavior, mental state, social status, environmental factors, and other aspects of the lives of criminals. They profile individual criminals to gain the motivations for the criminal behavior. They gather information about biological situations and any previous incidences in behavior. They study data about crimes, arrests, and convictions to determine any related traits among criminals. Criminologists strive to find ways to predict, deter, and prevent future crimes. Some criminologists study criminals themselves to draw conclusions and suggest recommendations for at-risk individuals. Others study the history and theories of crime along with the criminal justice system. Through the collection of extensive information, criminologists assist law enforcement officials in catching criminals and assess the motives for crimes.

Cultivate Theories

Through their exhaustive research, criminologists work to develop theories on why people commit crimes and any associated risk factors. They compile all of their research and statistics to look for patterns and trends in behavior. After careful examination of the research, they develop theories to help other professionals gain a better understanding of criminology. Among the theories include law enforcement tactics, forensics, juvenile delinquency, substance abuse, and law reform.

Crime Scene Investigation

Many criminologists work with law enforcement professionals to examine crime scenes. They investigate all aspects of the crime scene to help get a better understanding of exactly what happened. They use their knowledge of psychology and criminology to shed light on what happened during a crime and the potential cause. They examine evidence and sometimes autopsies to determine if a criminal falls into a certain category based on the aspects of the crime.

Compose Reports

Criminologists work from both statistical and analytical standpoints to compose reports that illustrate the nature of crimes and their research findings. The reports are kept on file to refer back when similar crimes are committed to compare. Criminologists also develop statistics that can be utilized to assist in adopting or modifying laws, incorporating crime prevention initiatives, and reforming policies. They gather demographics, such as who is most likely to commit crimes, location where majority of crimes occur, how the justice system affects criminals, and the likelihood of relapses in deviant behavior from previous offenders. According to the American Society of Criminology, often times the reports of criminologists are published in criminology journals or other associated publications. The reports are also used to solve real-life problems in many different areas of criminal justice.

Related Resource: Sociologist

Criminology is a popular field and criminologists are in high demand. This position typically requires at least a bachelor’s degree and a strong interest in criminal justice and psychology. All criminologists work with the goal of making sure laws are just and effectively protecting society from criminal behavior. Conducting research, composing reports, is just a small insight of what a criminologist does.