Fingerprints are something most people do not spend lots of time considering on a daily basis. 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.
But for some, fingerprints are a vital part of their job. Law enforcement officers and forensic experts spend hours thinking about how fingerprints solve crimes as they try to find, collect, document and compare those special identifiers that can link someone to a particular crime. 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 have ever been proven to be precisely alike; not on identical twin and not even on an individual’s own hand. The unique whorls and lines which compose an individual’s fingerprints are formed at the fetal period and remain the same during one ‘s whole lifespan. This creates a unique mark which can single out an individual linked to a particular crime, especially when a person already has their fingerprints in the records of the police or other government institutions.
Fingerprints are composed of a set of swirling lines. How these lines shape and design themselves is exactly what makes every fingerprint unique. Despite the huge number of distinct fingerprints, there are only seven unique kinds of lines that make up fingerprints. These lines can begin, stop or divide at any location within the print. The shapes, angles, and lengths create billions of unique prints.
Using their unique qualities, it becomes easy to see how fingerprints can help solve crimes. Leaving a fingerprint is like dropping a calling card at the crime scene. There are a few ways fingerprints become left behind by careless criminals. The most common way is by oil or fat transferred by the finger to an object like a doorframe. Amino acids in the finger may even leave a discernable mark. Fingerprints may also be seen as an impression in a soft material like putty. Additionally, they can be created by something on the finger like paint or blood.
Uncovering fingerprints to help resolve a crime could be carried out in a couple of ways. Adhering powders into new fingerprints will make the powder stick to the dirt and make the fingerprint visible. Another technique is using a few drops of cyanoacrylate. When these drops are warmed, they vaporized and the smoke attaches to the fingerprint leaving a clear white print. Specialised crime scene lab equipment may also locate fingerprints, but, not all jurisdictions have access to all these equipment.
Fingerprints can be stored for further investigation in many of ways, such as: taking photographs of the print and storing them on a tape or rubber lifter.
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.