UNLV’s unique crime class gives students real-world experience

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A unique class at UNLV simulates crime scenes to give students real-world experience. The program is relatively new and aims to build confidence and introduce potential career choices.

Students step behind the yellow tape to investigate pretend crime scenes on campus. They take on different roles to solve a murder mystery during the course offered by the school’s College of Urban Affairs.

Participants experience carefully crafted scenarios throughout the semester that expose them to a range of social issues.

“The purpose of the class is to have a highly-immersive and engaging interdisciplinary experience,” said Joel Lieberman, chair of UNLV’s criminal justice department.

The class doesn’t just involve criminal justice students. It incorporates various academic programs, from leadership to counseling, investigation, communication and journalism.

How is the class structured? The scenario begins with students hearing a 911 call. Later, they find a crime scene, perform their assigned duties and watch surveillance video. Actors make it even more real, performing as various characters, including the deceased.

People from various fields, including the coroner’s office and Metro, assist the students as subject matter experts, creating a course that’s engaging in preparation for the working world.

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