Thursday, March 8, 2012

Texas State University Offering Crime Analysis Course

Professor Marcus Felson of Texas State University recently sent me a syllabus from a crime analysis course they are offering. What I found interesting was that this syllabus showed that a lot of the course work and materials were centered on publications from the Problem Oriented Policing Center and included one of my favorite books Crime Analysis For Problem Solvers In 60 Steps. I wrote a series of blog posts on each of the 60 Steps a while back. The course also goes through quite a number of POP Guides covering a wide variety of crimes.

You can view a copy of the syllabus here. I interviewed Professor Felson about this course. Here's what he had to say:

The Crime Analyst's Blog - Why is Texas State offering this course?

Professor Felson - We think that the occupation "crime analyst" is of central importance to for American society, and will be even more so in the future. We believe also that crime analysis as a field of description, comprehension, and policy is academically important and central to the justice system.

The Crime Analyst's Blog -This course relies heavily on materials from the Problem Oriented Policing Center. Why did you choose their materials?

Professor Felson - These materials are free to our students, easy to download, highly practical, and yet linked to tangible theories of crime. In addition, these materials reflect research findings and theories associated with Texas State University and now used around the world.

The Crime Analyst's Blog -What other types of courses are important for someone interested in becoming a crime analyst?

Professor Felson - A crime analyst should take courses covering these topics:

a. crime analysis and crime pattern analysis
b. routine activity theory
c. situational crime prevention
d. problem oriented policing
e. geographic principles and basic spatial thinking
f. computer mapping
g. Microsoft Access or data base management (basic course)
h. SPSS or a basic statistical package
i. basic statistics, especially descriptive statistics, and applied regression analysis

Study and keep up on it. Try to take some courses in a geography department, too.

The Crime Analyst's Blog -Where can people get more information about the courses offered by Texas State?

Professor Felson - Go to the criminal justice webpage, and check the degree appropriate to your needs. Both our criminal justice and geography departments are excellent.

For those of you outside Texas or unfamiliar with Texas State University, they have had a strong criminal justice program for years. In fact when I was first getting into law enforcement quite a number of my peers had been enrolled there to further their criminal justice career. 

For all those folks that ask me how to get a start in crime analysis, a course like this is a good way to get started. 

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