Fingerprints are something that never crosses peoples’ minds daily. Actually, unless somebody is trying to eliminate pesky fingerprints from mirrors or furniture, it is unlikely an ordinary person thinks of fingerprints in any way.
However, for some people, its an important part of their jobs. Law enforcement officers and forensic experts spend hours thinking about how prints help solve crimes, and attempting to locate, gather, document and compare these special identifiers that could connect a particular individual to a specific offense. These individuals understand that a fundamental human characteristic that many people take for granted can be among the best tools in solving crimes.
Each person is born with unique fingerprints. No two fingerprints look the same; not even on identical twins. The one of a kind whorls and lines which compose a person’s fingerprints are formed at the fetal stage and stay the same during their whole lifespan. This makes for a unique mark which can positively identify one person against another, particularly useful when a person of interest has an existing record of fingerprints on file with police, or other government institutions.
Fingerprints are made up of a set of swirling lines. These lines shape and pattern themselves in a way that makes each fingerprint unique. Despite the huge number of distinct fingerprints, there are only seven unique kinds of lines that make up fingerprints. These lines can start, stop or split at any part of the print. The shapes, lengths, angles, heights, and widths create billions and billions of unique prints.
Using their unique attributes, it becomes simple to see precisely how fingerprints can help solve crimes. Leaving fingerprints at a crime scene is more like dropping a calling card there. There are a few unique ways fingerprints get left behind by careless crooks. The most common way is by oil or fat that’s transferred by the finger onto an object such as a doorframe or desk. Amino acids in the finger may even leave a discernable mark. Fingerprints may also be detected as an impression on a soft substance like putty. Finally, they are sometimes drawn up by substances on the finger such as paint or blood.
Revealing fingerprints to help resolve a crime can be achieved in a number of ways. Adhering powders onto new fingerprints will make the powder adhere to the grease making the fingerprint visible. Another technique is using a few drops of cyanoacrylate. When these drops are heated, they vaporize, and their smoke attaches to the fingerprint leaving a white print. Specialised crime scene laboratory equipment can also find fingerprints.
Fingerprints may be stored for more investigation in many of ways such as: capturing a photo of the printing, storing it on a tape or rubber lifter, maintaining the original ground the printing was on and copying it utilizing digital technologies.
Ideally, from a crime-solving perspective, it is hoped that the interconnected nature of our society will gradually lead to having all fingerprint databases linked for effortless cross-reference.