With a population that is nearly the size of many other states, it may be surprising that the state of Virginia is home to the largest number of working criminologists in the United States. A closer inspection shows why there are some many trained professionals that have chosen to live in this state.
Virginia is home to the Central Intelligence Agency, or CIA for short, an organization that has a considerable number of criminologists on staff. In addition, the headquarters of the Federal Bureau of Investigation or FBI for short, is also located in nearby Washington, D.C., and is considered to be the largest single employer of criminologists in the country.
With the Virginia border being very close to the city of Washington, many of the employees in criminology positions choose to live in Virginia. Because these two organizations have such a wide variety of criminologists employed, understanding a typical day in the life of a Virginia criminologist can be difficult because they do so many different tasks.
As the largest investigative agency in the United States, the FBI has jurisdiction over more than 200 different types of crime. This means that criminologists working for the FBI could have very different employment scopes depending on the specific jobs that they are assigned to.
Assuming that there are no pressing concerns, most FBI criminologists will spend their working time in a combination of office roles and in the field. When active on an investigation, the majority of time will be spent in the field collecting data for later analysis in the office or laboratory.
Working hours for an FBI criminologist in Virginia can vary greatly depending on the activity level of a specific case. For situations where the case is a long term investigation, a typical day will usually have normal working hours. However, when there is a case that needs immediate results, a criminologist may be expected to drop all of their other duties and work exclusively on the high priority issue.
This can include working late or extended hours as dictated by the demands of the case.
For FBI investigators in Virginia that are not actively assigned to cases, much of the work is done on criminology theory and improving standard practices to improve the rate of criminal apprehension and thus reduce the amount of crime.
Typical tasks in a given day could include looking at and tweaking specialized software to get optimal results, improving criminal screening processes, or evaluating legislation to prevent loopholes and improve the effectiveness of the laws.
These positions are largely done during normal working hours and a person in this type of criminology position can expect that they will work a standard schedule except in rare cases.
There are a large number of criminologist workers in Virginia that work at the official FBI Laboratory that is located in the small town of Quantico, Virginia at the Marine Corps Base that is also present there.
This research facility is responsible for completing a great deal of forensic evaluation, including requests that are sent from state organizations that need external help with particularly difficult cases.
It is at the FBI Laboratory that some of the brightest criminology experts work. A day in the life of one of these forensic criminologists may be spent analyzing a single item and testing it in many ways, including getting fingerprint data, doing a chemical analysis of item components to detect foreign substances, or testing the item in many different ways.
The FBI Laboratory is also home to a training center that is instrumental in teaching top techniques to many employees of the organization. Employees that work in the filed of instruction can expect that a typical day will be filled with classes and seminars to explain techniques to newer employees or providing demonstrations of criminology methods.
In 2010, the FBI increased the amount of money spent on white collar crime and Internet investigation to over $600 million. With this extra money, more criminologists have begun working at the FBI in the scope of examining online frauds as well as crime that has a strong presence on the Internet.
With Virginia being the home of the FBI and the nation’s largest criminology workforce, there is no standard structure for a typical day in the state for one of these employees.