“Crime takes but a moment but justice an eternity!” – Ellen O’Grady This famous quote is a depiction of truth in the current day world. And although all of us agree with it, all we ever do is complain. For someone to take the first step forward is challenging but if you are one of those who are willing to take the first step then here’s how you can study and determine crime patterns and either solve them or prevent their occurrence. Becoming a criminologist is not an easy task. Since it is a life changing, high-risk and intellectual profession, you need to carefully weigh out the pros and cons before committing to it. It also takes immense patience and courage to crack the case at hand. The basic function of a criminologist is fighting crime, crime elements and learning the social signals. Criminologists function in both government and academic profiles but their intent is always the same – fight crime and fight it tooth and nail. Here are some tips which can help you understand how to become a criminologist!
Becoming A Criminologist
A Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice, Sociology or Psychology is the first step towards becoming a criminologist. This is not compulsory and any undergraduate degree can do provided it includes mathematics, biology, psychology, sociology and computer science. Master’s or Doctorate (PhD.) in any specialization (like Forensic Sciences and Criminology) can further familiarise you with the subject. Majoring in subjects like alcohol, drugs and criminality or criminal law or psychology of crime is advised. If you are interested in teaching then you need a postgraduate degree in behavioural sciences and a doctorate in psychology/sociology. Post this, you can apply for licensure test depending upon the country you are operating in.
Postgraduate Diploma Course In Criminology: This degree can be either clinical or applied. The course revolves around theory of criminology, punishment and social control, justice and policing post-conflict, prisoner re-settlement and critical criminology.
Degree In Forensics: Forensics also play a vital role in fighting crime. Forensics experts determine the causes of crime and help apprehend the criminals based on this information. To fight crime effectively, it is desirable that one also pursues a short term in forensics to understand and evaluate evidences better.
Knowledgeable: Having a strong academic background holds a great deal of importance but the importance of experience, common sense and wisdom cannot be undermined.
Strong Analytical Skills: Reasoning and analyzing the problem so that correct decisions can be made is a crucial role of a criminologist. Applying logical thinking in times of crisis is another skill set that is required.
Report Writing & Presentation: Before, after and even during an investigation, there arises a tremendous need of organizational skills. Making a report of evidences and proofs against the criminals, the laws that bind them and the relation of the crime with society requires expertise in report writing and presentation.
Roles And Responsibilities
Measuring crime: Crime can be measured locally, nationally as well as globally. Criminologists work with law enforcement agencies to get statistics about the number of felonies committed. They maintain databases to identify repetitive patterns in certain criminals to maintain accurate profiles of felons.
Preventing and controlling crime: Formulating and implementing programs that educate the youth about methods to prevent or control crime, is the job of a criminologist as is ensuring that law and rules are enforced by authorities and followed by people.
Rehabilitation of criminals: Analyzing correctional and rehab programs for offenders is an important duty of a criminologist. They are responsible for designing and implementing such programs as well as testing their effectiveness and ridding them of any flaws detected.
Analyzing a criminal’s role in society: It is known to be one of the most interesting roles of a criminologist.They understand the impact of these criminals on the society and analyze how the media and society respond to them. For example, there is a discrepancy between how people treat street crimes and white-collar crimes and studying these discrepancies with respect to their causes and consequences is a criminologist’s job.
With good qualifications and suitable experience, criminologists can be appointed in fields of legal studies, law and sociology or as teachers of criminology. They can also work with public and private sector companies or with departments dealing with crime and human rights. There is no shortage in demand for professional criminologists and they are extensively required in NGO’s, research organizations and most commonly, in detective agencies. Jobs of counselling and rehab of crime-committers in prisons are also quite common.
The bottom line is that even though the job of a criminologist sounds appealing, be careful that you take into the account the long hours involved and the stress of being closely involved with hardcore criminals. Becoming a criminologist may not be easy but the dynamism involved is well worth the effort!