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Ontario Crime Analyst Qualifying Exam -What's on it?!
February 23, 2014 3:49 PM   Subscribe

I've applied to a police station in Ontario, Canada for a crime analyst position and have been selected to write their qualifying exam. The position itself deals with Microsoft Excel to help the detectives identify crime trends and patterns with Excel. Other than this, I have no idea what else might be tested and was hoping that someone might have some idea.

I've applied to a police station in Ontario, Canada for a crime analyst position and have been selected to write their qualifying exam. The detective on the phone didn't tell me anything about the exam other than it's on the computer. When I asked how one might prepare for this test and what types of things might be tested, he didn't actually provide me with any details other than reiterated some of what the job ad had mentioned.

The position itself deals with Microsoft Excel to help the detectives identify crime trends and patterns. That's the main computer component, other than recommending (but not requiring) some SQL knowledge. I have knowledge in social sciences statistics that uses SPSS, however this position appears to mainly work with Excel. Other than this, I have no idea what else might be tested and was hoping that someone might have some idea.

Any tips from those who might know would definitely be appreciated. I've been brushing up on my Excel knowledge, but was unsure how to prepare otherwise.
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (1 answer total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
From purely a data management perspective, using a pivot table (google for tutorials if needed; so many links) to summarize cases based on type, date, location, etc (provided such is stored in the database) would be either critical to the job or just make you look like a wiz. Additionally, familiarizing yourself with some of the data-cleaning commands (such as LEFT(A1,2) to grab the leftmost 2 characters in cell A2 or MID(A2, 3, 2) to grab the two characters that start at position 3) will help tidy up the data for quick (if not elegant) organization into columns that have useful information for pivot table summarization. Counting (COUNT, COUNTA, COUNTIF) and sorting could be helpful. Finally, the built-in tools for formatting and printing may be useful.

As a bonus, if you're inclined or able, crime mapping has been revolutionizing crime stopping operations, and it appears that there's a new wave of innovation and excitement in this (following the early push in the mid 1990s and early 2000s). See this article for an example. Now, these sensitive data cannot merely be stored anywhere, but for experimentation with other data, cartodb has capability to geocode addresses to coordinates and then conduct some additional investigation, so it may be worth exploring.
posted by zachxman at 7:40 PM on February 23 [1 favorite]


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