GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) — Crime analysts spend time looking over data and evidence to learn why and how crimes are happening.

“You likely have seen news stories where a crime was solved, the investigation was supported or a missing person was found,” explained Dr. Michele Covington, the Executive Director of USC Upstate’s Greenville programs. “It was a crime analyst who connected those dots.”

According to Covington, only three Upstate law enforcement agencies have crime analysts on staff.

“We’re here to try and help fill in those gaps,” said Covington.

Now, other agencies will have access to that tool. This week, the University of South Carolina Upstate opened the Upstate Crime Analysis Center (UCAC) at the University Center of Greenville.

“This center is the first-of-its-kind to serve law enforcement and the public,” said Dr. Bennie Harris, the Chancellor of USC Upstate.

The UCAC will serve dual purposes. Law enforcement will have access to a crime analyst and new technology that can be used to review data and evidence. Those agencies can then use that information to solve or prevent future crimes by implementing “data-driven policing.”

“Through the center, we hope to assist law enforcement agencies in making the region safer,” said Harris.

The UCAC will also be used to teach criminal justice students by giving them hands-on experiences. They will analyze crime data and work alongside law enforcement officers through internships and projects.

USC Upstate will also offer a certificate program for existing law enforcement officers who are interested in crime analysis.

To learn more about UCAC, click here.