When most people think of crime-fighting, they envision police chases or FBI investigators traveling the country in black SUVs with tinted windows. While both of these careers are the classic version of a crime fighter, they’re not the only routes to making the world a safer and better place by way of preventing, stopping, and catching illegal activity.
If you’ve always wanted a career that allowed you to put dangerous individuals behind bars or keep violent scenarios from happening in the first place, but a traditional police beat is not for you, consider one of these career paths:
1. Forensic Accounting
Who would have ever thought that accounting could be exciting (and maybe even a little dangerous?) Well, it’s true. Those who love working with mathematical equations, have an excellent eye for detail, and are keen on order and impeccable documentation don’t have to just sit there staring at a computer screen for the rest of their lives. You can actually use your accounting skills to help fight crime in a number of ways.
According to The University of Alabama’s Collat School of Business, there are two types of forensic accountants: those who work in the public sector, and those who are employed by private businesses. Those who work for private firms won’t be doing the day-to-day tasks of accounting.
Their job is to investigate the accounting already going on and use the findings to advise their company and its employees as to how to prevent actual and accidental illegal activities. Those employed by the public sector could work for any number of government agencies, like the FBI and IRS, and will be actively investigating cases of fraud and embezzlement.
They use their accounting expertise to aid other investigators and advise attorneys when pursuing and prosecuting financial felons.
Not everyone who fights crime is working to catch and prosecute first-time offenders. According to Portland State University, the field of penology offers a unique opportunity to fight crime by preventing those who have already been been incarcerated from re-offending.
Penologists don’t work on the streets or in the investigative epicenter of a task force; they work directly in prisons to examine their current rehabilitation programs’ successes and failures. They use this information to recommend improvements on current programs as well as create new ones.
They work with both inmates and prison staff to advise and educate them on the best practices and the newest research on successful rehabilitation. They fight crime by ensuring that those who’ve already served time for breaking the law don’t go back into the world and do it all over again.
If all you envision a counselor doing is sitting in a chair listening to people talk all day, you are way underestimating the potential for a career in counseling. While listening to and guiding productive discussions with people is an important part of the job, it’s not all there is to it. Counselors can serve a number of purposes, including fighting and preventing crime.
According to Wake Forest University, there are multiple types of counselors that help prevent violent crime. School counselors aren’t only tasked with being an open ear for students. They also keep a keen eye on what’s happening on school grounds and use their one-on-one time with students to detect the potential for violent behavior and recommend preventative programs or medical intervention where needed.
Personal counselors can continue working with adults whose issues were identified in school, as well as identifying new potential threats, though they have a harder time convincing adults to attend therapy sessions and group rehabilitations when it’s not mandated.
They must think outside of the box in a number of ways to help ensure potentially violent offenders are steered away from those behaviors. Both types of counselors work with therapists, psychologists, and even specially trained FBI task forces to detect potentially dangerous behaviors and intervene prior to them happening.
4. Computer Science
Computer scientists and programmers are badly needed to help fight crime, and the need only increases with each new day of our current technological revolution. The fast growth of computing capabilities along with internet and device access has not only made it easier for criminals to hack into information, it has also multiplied the number of crimes that can even be committed in the first place.
Eastern Kentucky University demonstrates the current state of cybersecurity with hard data: There are almost 90 million cyber attacks occurring each year, and 70 % of them go undetected. Additionally, there are an estimated 400 new threats per minute (per minute!).
This unprecedented dilemma is still growing worse because there simply aren’t enough trained professionals to detect, combat, and prevent these scenarios. Computer scientists are sorely needed in the crime fighting world, especially since government agencies themselves are now storing most of their data and conducting much of their communications with the internet.
Cybersecurity isn’t the only issue. If you haven’t heard of the dark web, that’s probably a good thing, because it is quite a dark place where crime runs rampant. The dark web puts drug sales, murder for hire, sex trafficking, and child pornography at the fingertips of anyone with an internet connection, and the digital marketplace for these transactions is an impossible problem for law enforcement.
The dark web is known for untraceable financial transactions, and makes it so that anyone purchasing or being delivered something can’t be the proven purchaser or recipient. Furthermore, if one encrypted site does manage to get shut down, another just pops up in its place and has no shortage of business. The Silk Road, one of the first and most famous cryptomarkets, was shut down, but these activities are all still happening despite its closure.
The average police officer or investigator is simply not specialized enough to be aware of or understand the intricacies of technology-based crime. Professionals in this field are in dire demand, especially since the world of cybersecurity is set to see stunning amounts of growth over the next few years.
According to Maryville University, the cybersecurity industry will double in net worth (from $75 billion to $170 billion) between 2015 and 2020, and the amount of jobs in the field will increase from one million to six million by 2019. The only way to fight the plethora of cybercrimes going on currently is computer scientists and programmers taking up roles as law enforcement or working alongside them.
Clearly, fighting crime isn’t just a job for police officers. If you’ve always wanted to be on the ground floor making the world a safer place, hopefully one of these careers speaks to you and your strengths and passions.