As the most populated city in Texas, it makes sense that Houston would have its share of crime. The Houston Police Department maintains an interactive website with up-to-date crime information from the city. In the latest monthly Uniform Crime Report for September 2013, a total of 1800 violent crimes were reported. The majority (915) of these were aggravated assault, followed by robbery (816), rape (52) and murder (17). Crime scene investigators and forensic scientists are called upon to provide their services at many of these violent crime scenes in the city of Houston.
Pursuing a Forensic Science Education in Houston
Degrees and/or certificates in crime scene investigation and/or forensic science are required in order to obtain desirable jobs in the Houston area. Colleges and universities near and in Houston offer these related degrees:
- Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science-Criminal Justice
- Bachelor of Science in Computer Security and Forensics
- Bachelor of Science in Digital Forensics Technology
- Master of Science in Forensic Science
The Texas Department of Public Safety Crime Lab in Houston has an internship program for students who are pursuing degrees in forensic science, chemistry or biology. The internship is unpaid and one must have a GPA of at least 3.5 in order to qualify. Experience in either polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and short tandem repeats (STR) or analytical chemistry is desired but not required. Interns must be finished with their junior year of college and ready to go to work full-time within one year. They work 20 to 40 hours per week at the Houston Crime Laboratory, gaining valuable experience in assisting Evidence Technicians, compiling data for laboratory technicians, observing and assisting Forensic Scientists, and performing independent work projects arranged by DPS and one’s college or university.
Organizations Supporting Forensic Science Jobs in Houston
Houston Police Department Crime Laboratory – The Crime Lab Division of the Houston Police Department contains the following sections to analyze evidence from Houston crime scenes:
- Controlled Substances
- Central Evidence Receiving
- Forensic Biology
- Quality Assurance
Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences – This institute serving Harris County and located in Houston has many components, including:
- Medical Examiner Service
- Forensic Crime Laboratory Service
- Forensic Genetics Laboratory
Texas Department of Public Safety Crime Laboratory – Houston – The DPS has crime laboratories located across the state of Texas, including this one in Houston. State crime laboratories are used to analyze evidence in public safety/state police cases as well as in assisting local and federal law enforcement agencies when necessary.
Pasadena Police Department Regional Crime Laboratory – Located in Pasadena, about 10 miles from Houston, this police department crime lab processes evidence from crimes in Pasadena and Harris County, the State Attorney General’s Office, League City, Lakeview, La Porte, and Deer Park. In addition to providing training and crime scene assistance, the laboratory analyzes firearms and tool marks, trace evidence, toxicology, controlled substances, and serology.