History of Fingerprinting Essay

History of Fingerprinting Essay

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Crime investigators have the job to solve crime and find the suspect responsible. Sometimes the offense is very difficult to solve, but with the right pieces of evidence and tools, the investigation can be answered a little more easily. The use of fingerprints is a main tool used at crime scenes. Investigators find these at the actual crime scene and analyze them at the lab to determine whom the prints belong to. Each person has an individual print which is why this is a very useful piece of evidence. Sir Francis Galton found that the prints could be categorized into different types as well as different groups. The research of fingerprints from decades before has shaped the way detectives identify suspects and victims.
Fingerprint usage dates back to the 1800s. Sir William Herschel used the prints as signatures on civil contracts, before they were found useful towards crimes (History of Fingerprints Timeline, 2012). A British surgeon, Dr. Henry Faulds, wrote about using fingerprints for personal identification. He first looked at prints on clay pottery and studied the ridges and patterns that they had made in the clay. In 1891, Juan Vucetich suggested to start fingerprinting criminals to keep the prints on record. The following year, Vucetich identified a print from a woman who killed her two sons. Investigators found her print and were able to correctly match her identity. Charles Darwin’s cousin, Sir Francis Galton, wrote and published the first book about fingerprints. He wrote about how every individual has a unique print by the certain traits of each fingerprint (History of Fingerprints, 2012). The popularity of fingerprints grew greatly in the United States in the early 1900s. Police departments and the FBI began to use the...


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...A. Maria, Ruth M. Robin. (2009). Latent prints: a perspective on the state of the science. Forensic Science Communications. 11.4.

Gurdoglanyan, Diana (2001). Fingerprints used in Forensic Investigations. Retrieved November 25, 2013 from http://www.bxscience.edu/publications/forensics../articles/fingerprinting/r-fing01.htm.

Judson, Olivia. (2008). Sticky fingers: fingerprints are one of the oldest biometric measures of identity. What do we actually know about them? Natural History. 117.10. p16.

Radford, Dean. (2011). Fingerprints lead to arrest in 1978 homicide at mobile-park home near Renton. Retrieved December 14, 2013 from http://www.rentonreporter.com/news/130465243.html.

The FBI: Federal Bureau of Investigation. Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System. Retrieved December 14, 2013 http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/fingerprints_biometrics/iafis.

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