Alanna Wong was always interested in understanding crime, its causes, and contributing in some way to the safety and the well-being of the community.
While she once considered policing as a career, she’s now serving in a civilian role and fighting crime from her computer screen after graduating from the Tactical Criminal Analysis Graduate Certificate program at the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC).
Alanna’s educational and career journey began with a bachelor’s degree in criminology at Vancouver Island University. She went on to work as an adult probation officer, as a community support worker for high-risk offenders, and as a residential support worker at a rehabilitation centre for drug and alcohol addictions.
Her dream career came into focus after she completed a workshop on crime analysis, learning about crime-fighting techniques such as proactive policing, analysis of hotspots and social networks.
“I knew I wanted to learn more as I was attracted to the idea of using predictive analysis to control crime by looking at past crime data to identify, predict and prevent potential criminal activities,” Alanna said.
The skills I gathered during my time at JIBC were instrumental in preparing me for my current role
She had completed training to become a reserve constable, but ultimately determined her passion was more for using database research techniques to help prevent crime.
To that end, she enrolled in the Tactical Criminal Analysis Graduate Certificate program at JIBC. The online, part-time program offered her all the flexibility she needed to continue working her day job while learning computer-based, crime-fighting skills. Being awarded the JIBC General Student Bursary also helped her in completing the 18-month program.
She appreciated being able to make connections with instructors and other students, and the resulting discussions were good practice for working in a police investigation environment. She learned how to use different techniques to methodically examine potential pieces of evidence in identifying suspects for a case.
Alanna currently works as a crime analyst assistant with Metro Vancouver Transit Police.
“The skills I gathered during my time at JIBC were instrumental in preparing me for my current role. My courses showed me how to better research data, write reports, combine useful data from a variety of sources, and disseminate intelligence products to decision-makers.”
Her JIBC training served her well recently when she was assigned to review potential suspects for a series of sexual offences on the transit system and used analytical techniques to narrow down her leads.
“I forwarded a subject of interest to the lead investigator and currently charges are recommended against the subject for committing such offences on SkyTrain,” she said, adding the case is still making its way through the courts.
Alanna said the work is perfectly suited to her and her desire to make a difference.
“I like providing tactical investigative support to our uniformed and specialty sections to help reduce criminal activities within specific areas.”
While it took some time for her to secure her current role, her passion for the field kept her going.
“I knew the career would be worth it.”