Crime Prevention Specialist: Career Guide
Crime prevention specialists offer security consultations, install and monitor home and business security systems, and lead public education programs in crime prevention. Crime prevention specialists work in both the public and private sectors. Many have experience as sworn law enforcement officers and work with a variety of individuals, community organizations, and businesses to enhance security. This guide explores what crime prevention specialists do, how to become one, and the job outlook for crime prevention specialists.
Career Description, Duties, and Common Tasks
Crime prevention specialists work to make buildings and security systems safter by:
- Analyzing crime statistics
- Developing equipment and protocols to prevent crime
- Eliminating or reducing factors that can lead to victimization
- Preventing future criminal activity in a specific geographical area
- Delivering safety programs to the community
Crime prevention specialists are usually associated with police departments or non-profit organizations. They educate others about crime and teach them crime prevention methods. Crime prevention specialists also try to discourage children and teenagers from participating in crime, teaching them about consequences and presenting them with alternatives for safe activities. They also may work with victims of crimes like burglaries, reviewing how a break-in took place, discussing what went wrong with security, and offering solutions to make their homes and businesses safer and prevent future crimes from happening.
Steps for Becoming a Crime Prevention Specialist
The typical minimum requirement for a crime prevention specialist is a high school diploma or equivalent. An associate's degree in criminal justice or a related field may be required, or at least preferred, by some employers. Experience in law enforcement is also beneficial, but not always required. Individuals may also complete coursework to earn the National Crime Prevention Specialist Certification through the National Crime Prevention Council. While the steps for each employer will be different, you can expect to undergo steps similar to the ones below if you are looking to be hired as a crime prevention specialist.
- Attend a degree program or gain experience in a related field.*
- Apply with the employer of your choice.
- Undergo a background investigation.
- Attend an interview with the employer.
- Get hired as a crime prevention specialist.
- Receive on-the-job training while working as a crime prevention specialist.
*Check with each employer to read about the required education and experience for the position.
Crime Prevention Specialist Job Training
When starting at the entry level, crime prevention specialists typically work with more experienced professionals as they learn their job duties. Many specialists will bring prior law enforcement experience to the table that can be applied to this career. Crime prevention specialists continue updating their skills through training and continuing education throughout their careers.
Other Helpful Skills and Experience
It is helpful for crime prevention specialists to have a background in, or at least some knowledge of, law enforcement. Since they work closely with police officers and members of law enforcement in addition to the general public, it is important for crime prevention specialists to feel comfortable communicating with many different types of people. They should have well-polished presentation skills, analytical skills, and excellent listening skills.
Possible Job Titles for This Career
- Crime Prevention Specialist
- Crime Prevention Practitioner
- Security Consultant
- Security Specialist
Crime Prevention Specialist Salary and Job Outlook
Communities and businesses that want to reduce opportunities for crime often hire crime prevention specialists. A crime prevention specialist's salary depends on education, experience, agency, and geographic location. For the related occupation of police and detectives, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a median annual salary of $63,380 and projected employment growth of 7% for the decade from 2016 to 2026.1
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Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Do crime prevention specialists work daytime hours?
Answer: It depends. Depending on the role assigned, crime prevention specialists do work daytime hours, but they also often work after regular business hours, including nights and weekends, to meet the needs of those they are assisting.
Question: Do crime prevention specialists need special training?
Answer: Crime prevention specialists generally receive on-the-job preparation, but a background or experience in law enforcement certainly helps, as does a degree in criminal justice or public safety.
- American Crime Prevention Institute: An organization that provides training and educational resources for crime prevention practitioners and the law enforcement community.
- International Society of Crime Prevention Practitioners: An international organization that provides professional development, resources, and an annual symposium for crime prevention practitioners.
- National Crime Prevention Council: A national organization that is dedicated to the professional development of crime prevention practitioners.
- National Institute of Crime Prevention: An organization dedicated to training crime prevention specialists.
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Police and Detectives: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/police-and-detectives.htm