Article Title

JRSA Forum. June 2013. Volume 31, Number 2.


International Association of Crime Analysts: Who We Are and What We Do

Julie Wartell, IACA Publications Committee Director

In today's criminal justice environment, it can be difficult to keep up with the latest trends in policing. Whether a local, state, or federal agency calls its way of policing "problem-oriented," "community-oriented," "COMPSTAT," "intelligence-led," "predictive," "evidence-based," or "data-driven," all of these models have one critical thing in common: an analytical component. In other words, each one requires crime analysis in order to be effective. The International Association of Crime Analysts (IACA) can help practitioners and researchers alike implement any of these concepts on a practical level.

The IACA is a nonprofit, professional association made up of more than 2,300 criminal justice professionals from 48 countries. The IACA Executive Board and various committee positions are filled by individuals working in the field who also volunteer their time to improve the profession. The IACA offers training, literature and other services to support its members and their agencies. With analysts, sworn officers, executives, and academics as members, the IACA serves as an essential bridge between research and practice.

What Is Crime Analysis?

Crime analysis is not just about data, mapping, and statistics. It is about interpreting data into actionable information to help law enforcement intervene on crime patterns, trends, series, hot spots, and long-term problems.

Crime analysis is not simply about technology. It was a profession before any police agency had a computer, and to this day many of the skills necessary to be a good crime analyst have nothing to do with computer applications.

Crime analysis requires training. Just as police officers must refresh their training and skills each year, so must crime analysts. Crime analysis is valuable to all agencies, regardless of jurisdiction size or number of personnel. Any jurisdiction that experiences crime patterns and series, or has to deal with hot spots or chronic problems, or wants to allocate its resources more effectively can benefit.

What Does IACA Provide?

The IACA's professional training series provides analysts with the skills they need, offering onsite and online classes in Tactical Analysis, Problem Analysis, Computer Applications, Crime Mapping and more. The certification program raises the bar in professional development for working analysts. Exploring Crime Analysis is a 500+-page book that covers 20 important analytical skills and knowledge sets, authored by professionals in the field. The IACA holds annual conferences in the United States and internationally, providing hands-on training, presentations, networking, and professional development.

How Can IACA and JRSA Members Work Together?

Both IACA and JRSA have practitioners and researchers as members, with both organizations interested in reinforcing the connections between research and practice. IACA's Publication Committee publishes a Research Digest three times a year that summarizes relevant research articles for the crime analysis community. IACA will be represented at the American Society of Criminology annual conference this year for the first time, and we hope to continue to expand our knowledge, networking and collaboration with practitioners and researchers in the criminal justice field. We invite JRSA members to check out our website, contact the Board or Publications Committee, and/or attend one of our trainings or annual conference.

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