Modern criminal justice degree programs have evolved with changes in the social structure. In prior years, criminal justice majors would concentrate on law enforcement techniques, corrections or probation, and parole. In today’s programs, there are other areas of emphasis including technology-based crimes and technology-based investigations.
In order to keep up with the explosion in the use of data in society, criminal justice and criminology degree programs have begun teaching new strategies to address this change. A necessary part of these strategies is understanding the importance of data centers that collect and store information necessary to effectively conduct police work.
Uncovering the Digital Footprint
Even the most skilled criminal leaves a digital footprint whenever using a computer, laptop or smart phone. Learning investigative methods to uncover these footprints is a new Investigative technique that combines computer science and the principles of investigation. Data analysis provides information used to create suspect patterns, friends, interests, and purchases. The analysis can also lead to solving computer-based or white collar crimes. Modern programs provide the graduate with a strong understanding of the use of the data and data centers in support of research and investigations.
Crime Mapping and Statistical Analysis
In prior years, crime mapping and statistical analysis was done with push pins on a bulletin board map and simple calculations based on data recorded manually. In most jurisdictions today, the data is collected from incoming call to closing out the call or case and is stored in data centers. Modern criminal justice programs teach students how to find and analyze data in search of patterns and to connect dots. It can also be used to teach leaders to use data to determine such things as if a new patrol scheme is more effective or what patrol unit is most successful. Modern criminal justice programs have increased the intensity of statistics courses to teach these techniques.
The area of cyber security is one that gets a great deal of attention now. Students in these programs often come to the programs with a background in computer science. They learn how to use this background to find hackers, recover stolen data and follow computer attacks back to the source. These criminal justice programs are intensive and utilize highly skilled and experienced instructors to provide real world experience.
The increase in the use of data throughout society has led to a significant change in the methods used to teach criminal justice courses. Modern criminal justice programs have included options for data analysis and investigation, and leadership programs now include a greater emphasis on using data in decision-making.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.