What is a Fingerprint ID?

Harriette Halepis

Fingerprint identification, also known as fingerprint id, refers to the process of comparing one set of fingerprints to another. Due to the fact that all human fingertips, palms, and toes contain unique patterns, it is impossible for two people to have the same fingerprints. Thus, comparing fingerprints is an effective way to identify an individual.

Comparing fingerprints is an effective way to identify an individual.
Comparing fingerprints is an effective way to identify an individual.

If a fingerprint identification professional matches two fingerprints, a fingerprint id is achieved. Traditionally, fingerprints have been gathered by rolling the tip of a finger in black ink, and then placing the inked finger on a white background. The result of this tactic is an impression that can then be connected to an individual. Most fingerprints are stored within a computer system, though some fingerprint professionals match prints by hand.

A fingerprinting kit is commonly used to examine evidence from crime scenes.
A fingerprinting kit is commonly used to examine evidence from crime scenes.

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When related to crime scene investigation, law enforcement officials are often able to discover fingerprints that were left behind by a criminal. The human body automatically excretes a certain secretion from the eccrine glands. When this occurs, anything that a person has touched will be marked with a unique fingerprint.

Latent fingerprints are not visible under normal conditions, and must be dusted with pigment or illuminated with a UV light by investigators.
Latent fingerprints are not visible under normal conditions, and must be dusted with pigment or illuminated with a UV light by investigators.

By using ultraviolet light, specific chemicals, and a specialized powder, law enforcement officials are able to view fingerprints. During the fingerprint id process, any criminal who has been previously fingerprinted can be matched to the prints left at the scene of a crime. While this process may seem simple, fingerprints are often faded, cracked, or incomplete. Therefore, a fingerprint id specialist must piece together any fingerprint remnants, a process that can take many hours to complete. Within the fingerprint id world, there are a few different kinds of fingerprints that can be gathered.

Latent fingerprints are those that are left accidentally. Using the techniques mentioned above, fingerprint professionals can compose a complete picture of a fingerprint. Patent prints are fingerprints that have been preserved due to substances such as blood, dirt, and ink. These prints are generally photographed in order to leave a crime scene intact.

Plastic prints refer to prints that have left a solidified impression. Any print left in candle wax, car grease, or window putty can be considered a plastic print. These prints are often left completely whole, and they are easy to identify. Frequently, criminals wear gloves in order to deter fingerprint id specialists from uncovering a set of prints. The various tools used to determine a person's prints may vary, though most of this technology is highly advanced and complex.

Fingerprints are often recovered from crime scenes.
Fingerprints are often recovered from crime scenes.

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