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Criminology Department Creates Mock Crime Scene

By Rebekah Skeens
On October 11, 2018

New crime scene apartments prepare students for futures in criminology.
Photo Courtesy of Courtney Ross


Students who are a part of the sociology major with an emphasis in criminology now have access to new crime scene apartments to assist in further learning about the field.
Two on-campus apartments located across from the Woodell parking lot, formerly known as “College Courts,” are being utilized for students gaining a degree in a criminology emphasis. Criminology instructor Lori Pace says this experience and mock set-up are to benefit her students. This will help get the students more prepared for the field while giving them desired real-world experience.
On Sept. 11, students viewed the mock scenes set up at the College Courts. Pace explained how the two created scenarios were vastly different from each other. One scenario included a veteran student and a pool of blood. Students obtained the ID of a witness and then began the investigation process. The other scene took place in what looked to be an abandoned apartment where a dead body was found. The victim had a gunshot wound and the students had to determine who was the killer and what was their motive.
After students had a chance to evaluate the information and study the scenario, they spoke with a W.Va. Crime lab head representative on Sept. 18. The students presented the information from their observations of the crime scenes and explained the methods of their investigations.
Some students who participated were first unsure about what they were about to encounter but afterwards were glad to have been a part of the experience. Concord Criminology student Jaxon Poore shares what it was like for him. “I thought getting to do the crime scene was very interesting. It gave us the opportunity to gain some real hands-on experience regarding crime scene investigation. It was challenging to try and find out the evidence and then piece together what actually happened. I think it was a great experience and I would love to be able to participate in more crime scenes in other classes at Concord.”
Another criminology student, Mikayla Ashby, shares how her experience will benefit her in the future. She says, “I feel that the crime scene apartments were an excellent way for students to gain practice on the proper ways law enforcement go about investigating. Having to develop our own theory on what occurred at the crime scene was challenging and fun as we completed our own investigation.  Being able to hear a State Trooper and the head of the Charleston crime lab debrief the crime scenes and share their knowledge was an amazing opportunity.”
During Pace’s criminology course taught at the Concord University Beckley campus, she would create a pop-up crime scene for students in her classes. She explained it was a smaller crime scene than the one created on the Athens campus, as there would usually only be a vehicle and one victim. After teaching on the Athens campus, she decided to create one here as well. She said, “This was just a big idea I had last spring after teaching in Athens for the Criminology emphasis. After going through channels to find the space and start to collect items for props all summer and the first part of this semester, we’ve pulled off two successful crime scenes.”
Pace continues by explaining how students are aware of what the program can become with all their involvement. Due to this, there is great potential for the criminology emphasis to continue to grow. This gives students something more than reading from a textbook or watching a crime television show. The hands-on experience is ultimately what will help the students and get others interested in the program.
The Sociology department is looking for items which can be used for future crime scenes. They are now accepting donations and are willing to haul items away if they can be used in any way. Most home, office or dorm items can be beneficial for creating the next mock scene. If anyone has items they no longer want or would like to donate, contact Lori Pace at 


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