For the second summer in a row, USC Union hosted a weeklong day camp allowing local children ranging in age from 9-13 to try their hands at crime scene investigation.
The CSI Summer Youth Camp is led by Bill Moore, who currently works in the USC Union continuing education department. Moore spent 21 years as an investigator with the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division and has traveled around the world investigating felony crimes including forgeries, rapes and murders.
During last year’s camp, various crime scenes were staged and campers were able to investigate. This year, participants worked a kidnapping case in stages.
The young investigators learned to identify, compare and lift fingerprints, cast footprints and tire impressions, compare fiber and “trace” evidence, take crime scene photographs and notes and work as an evidence team member.
On Friday, students dug with shovels to find evidence such as shoes, bones and hair in their “crime scene.” They sifted through the dirt and bagged the evidence. They also processed a “crime scene” in the USC Union library and found a note, leading them further along in their case.
One portion of the camp was spent working in a USC Union science lab where participants learned about chromosomes and looked at DNA from a banana. They also looked at human bones and learned to distinguish males from females by doing so.
On Thursday, campers toured the Union County Courthouse, the old Union County Jail and the Union County Museum.
Moore said students learned the importance science and math play in a professional career as an investigator. They learned to determine the sequence in which to use the best investigative techniques for evidence which requires multiple types of testing. Moore offered an example of a bottle with both fingerprints and dried blood on it. It would be important to remove a sample of the dried blood before processing the fingerprints. If fingerprints are taken first, there are chemicals involved that could contaminate the blood sample.
All who were involved said the camp was a successful one and is a definite possibility for next summer as well.