Criminologists examine the systems which bring people accused of crimes, to justice. They attempt to explain the reasons for criminal behaviour and suggest ways of reducing crime. They study the ways that certain criminal justice agencies operate, including the law courts, police services, prisons and community-based correction centres.

Criminologists analyse and interpret data received on the incidence of crime and the operation of the justice system and are thus able to provide information about crime and the ways in which people are processed by the criminal justice system.

They also catalogue information about the possible causes of crime and the crimes committed and compile crime statistics and develop ways in which crime-solving resources can be best used. Criminologists analyse and develop crime prevention strategies and generally evaluate all aspects of crime and the criminal justice system. They research criminological issues such as those pertaining to offenders, victims of crime and sentencing.

Criminologists may specialise in organisational research, victimology, corporate crime or juvenile justice. They may work in the legal field that tries to ensure that laws keep up with changes in society. They may also work in the social / psychological fields, which study the effects of the criminal justice system or the factors that contribute to offending behaviour by individuals.


  • government departments

  • tertiary institutions, universities as academics and researchers

  • department of justice, as research officers and advisers on policy, law reform, juvenile justice, crime statistics and adult correction

  • police departments, courts, corrective institutions

  • private welfare agencies

Getting Started

  • become computer literate

  • try to obtain part-time or holiday work in a legal field

  • volunteer for your local neighbourhood watch

  • speak to a criminologist about this type of career


Gaborone University College of Law and Professional Studies, Kaimosi Friends University College, Kenyatta University, Lyceum College, Moi University, Mount Kenya University, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, North-West University, University of Cape Town, University of Fort Hare, University of Johannesburg, University of KwaZulu-Natal, University of Namibia, University of South Africa, University of Technology Mauritius, University of the Free State, Walter Sisulu University

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