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Ryerson now offering standardized certificate in crime analytics


August 30, 2019
By Staff
Ian Williams, head of analytics and innovation at Toronto Police Service, is the course instructor, a subject matter expert at the Chang School, and he helped prepare the business case. He said he’s always had hopes to see a multi-disciplinary program like this come to fruition. Photo supplied by Ian Williams

Ryerson University’s Chang School of Continuing Education is now offering a new certificate for professionals in policing and law enforcement: certificate in crime analytics.

The school says this program, which was just approved to become a certifiable program this summer and kicks off in September, will allow students to “gain practical GIS mapping, data analysis, and decision support, as well as broader foundational knowledge in criminal justice, policing, and criminal behaviour.”

Ian Williams, head of analytics and innovation at Toronto Police Service, is the program instructor, a subject matter expert at the Chang School, and he helped prepare the business case. He said he’s always had hopes to see a multi-disciplinary certificate like this come to fruition.

“Ryerson is really well known for experiential and job-focused learning,” Williams said. “One of the things in my field of crime analysis is that we really needed a standardized process of certification. Ryerson is right down the street and we have had the opportunity to benefit from that and from online learning.”

The use of crime analysis and intelligence-led policing is increasingly being adopted by policing agencies across Canada, Ryerson explains on its course webpage. “This certificate provides students with a theoretical foundation and extensive practical experience in using crime analysis tools for tactical, strategic, and administrative decision-making in law enforcement.”

The program is designed to hone practical skills that will transfer seamlessly over into the workplace, Williams added, as there is project component that will feature direct involvement with a police force. Students will also be provided with a critical understanding of the potential uses and misuses of data analysis.

Typically, about 30 students would fill the program, Williams noted.

“There’s also a range of ways to complete it. It’s a flexible course. Some people will be ambitious and do two to three classes per semester to complete it in one year or 18 months.”

Williams also wanted to point out this certificate is geared to professionals interested in a career change and professionals who are already doing analysis of some sort but want to specialize in crime analysis.

“The biggest benefit is just having a standardized program in crime analytics,” he said. “We hope to create a standardized level of expectations… and other industries will benefit from these skill sets, too, such as large financial institutions, other security organizations, etc.”

Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders and Deputy Chief Shawna Coxon have been “incredibly supportive of analytics in policing and of my role in contributing to the industry,” Williams noted. “I honestly couldn’t ask for a more supportive command team who are advocates for enhanced analytics in public safety.”