We’ve all watched so many amazing programs now, watching how crime investigators solve, or in Dexter’s case commit and cover up or frame others. They are fascinating – no doubt and most of us are sure that we could have a successful career in the crime-solving industry. But what does it actually take to get there? How do you go from armchair criminal investigator to fully fledged, real deal badge-wielding professional?
And, what other career options are there?
Let’s start with a criminal psychologist. Hello there Criminal Minds, the fast-paced, unsub per episode TV series. But how do they do it? It is becoming increasingly popular in recent years, many people enter the field after being inspired by the characters they see on the TV. The role can be an incredibly rewarding one, but it comes with a lot of responsibility too. Crime scene consultation is part of the job, it’s not that likely you will need to do that often though.
You’re likely to be called as an expert witness, assess prisoners, help with rehabilitation, and of course, look at the motives and behaviours behind crimes. Risk assessment is a big deal, you will be looking at the likelihood of re-offenders and if they are safe out in the public.
Of course, a police officer would be on this list. They play an integral part of the justice system and are often the front line when it comes to making arrests, chases and crime scenes. The work on the prevention of crime too. Of course, there is a lot to learn and starting with something like a policing and criminology degree will pay dividends for you in the end. You can click here to read more about learning online.
You will be enforcing local, and national laws within your own jurisdiction. Your responsibilities lie with public safety, safety through patrols and education, responding to emergencies, and you may be required to attend court many times. After cadet training, you will usually specialise in a particular area like SWAT, emergency response, fingerprint ID, or chemical training.
Blood Spatter Analyst
Requiring a highly specific set of education in biology, physics and chemistry of spilt blood this is incredibly interesting. Blood is often the most critical clue in a crime scene. It can tell you the type of weapon used, the force behind it, the direction of the swing or blow and so much more. Blood Spatter Analysts visit the crime scene and will locate and help to preserve blood samples. A range of photos and samples will be taken back to a lab where they will be able to perform a more in-depth analysis. There may be a requirement to replicate the incident to work out and create the same spatter pattern.
Interestingly even the smallest amount of blood will require a specialist. Motion, gravity, air pressure, volume, surface type, and more will all give clues. This career is certainly one for those made of sturdier stuff.
This list be complete without CSI on it now would it? With all of the new technology that we now have available, the crime scene investigation career has probably never been more exciting. Mostly working in the field, you’d be collecting evidence, reconstructing crime scenes, even going through cold cases for clues and links. You will be able to prove innocence as well as guilt.
Collecting evidence on the scene, photographs, sketches, reconstruction, making detailed notes and working in the lab all come as part and parcel of this fantastic career.
Homicide detectives work and support police officers with investigations that involve murders. Because it is a specialised job role, the wages are very good. Homicide detectives will be looking into how and when a murder was committed. They’ll also be piecing together motives, and who did it. You would be gathering evidence, overseeing the crime scene technicians, highlight and locate witnesses, and again work on cold cases too. Of course, the pressure and stress can make this job pretty tricky at times and all-consuming. And, depending on the type of case you are working on it can become dangerous for you too.
This is a super cool role, you can work with the police and public detectives – and law offices, but you can go out on your own too. There is a lot of variety in the work, it doesn’t always focus on catching or finding criminals. There can be a decent amount of money at play too. They are very often hired in the background, running checks and scoping out information in divorce cases, family cases and worker’s compensation claims. It is all about uncovering the truth. Collecting evidence, taking photographs and finding eyewitnesses will help you close cases swiftly. Most private detectives need a license and a degree in criminal justice as well as some previous experience working as a detective elsewhere.
Very covert, and very risky. The Central Intelligence Agency help the federal government investigate law violations all over the world. Very often it will include putting lives at risk for the greater good. The salary is also pretty healthy due to those risks. The headquarters are located in Washington DC, but you will more than likely be based where you are needed and rarely called into head office. There is a unique mix of skills required and a lot of training. A degree and experience elsewhere in the criminal justice (for 5 years or more) system is a must.
So, now it’s time to stop daydreaming about cracking cases and catching murderers and get in on the action. Like anything, it takes passion, dedication, and some learning to get qualified. But, once you do you can peel back the rainbow stickers that allow the public to live their lives happily, without the real knowledge of the seedy crime filled underbelly we are all protected from.