This article provides information about fingerprints and the fingerprinting process. In addition, you’ll find a list of helpful resources, including websites, books, and supplies.
A fingerprint is an impression of the friction ridges of all or any part of the finger. A friction ridge is a raised portion of the epidermis on the palmar or plantar skin, consisting of one or more connected ridge units of friction ridge skin. These are sometimes known as “dermal ridges” or “dermal papillae.”
Fingerprints may be deposited in natural secretions from the eccrine glands present in friction ridge skin (secretions consisting primarily of water), or they may be made by ink or other contaminants transferred from the peaks of friction skin ridges to a relatively smooth surface, such as a card.
The term normally refers to the impressions transferred from the pad on the last joint of fingers and thumbs. However, cards also typically record portions of lower joint areas of the fingers (which are also used to effect identifications).
What are fingerprints used for?
Fingerprints are often used as a method of identifying people. They are especially useful in forensic science and crime scene investigation. No two prints are alike. Crime scene investigators and coroners use prints to help positively identify a criminal or identify a body when the individual’s identity is unknown.
Various types of prints are “lifted” or taken from crime scenes, and the results are analyzed and electronically compared to national databases to determine a possible match. Many people think fingerprints are the only prints left at a crime scene. Other types of prints include lip, hand, mouth, and more.
Fingerprinting Books, Equipment, and Supplies
If you’re interested in learning more, the following books provide information on the history, processes involved, and how the techniques are currently being applied to investigate crime scenes. These books will help you learn how to:
- Understand how prints are lifted from a crime scene and how they are preserved for future evaluation and analysis
- Learn how prints are analyzed and linked to a person through the use of software and database technology
- Understand the various types of prints that might be left at a crime scene, such as lip prints, handprints, mouth prints, etc., and how they are used to identify and convict the guilty.
- Learn the equipment, technology, and software used, such as ink, pads, forms, and scanners.
The story of a scientific breakthrough that solved one of the most brutal murders in England’s history and forever changed the criminal justice system. This book tells how technology found its way into the criminal justice system.
Well-researched, this book traces the art and science to its present-day applications. It explains why the unique tracks we leave with our fingers remain one of the most important means of identifying criminals.
Suspect Identities: A History of Fingerprinting and Criminal Identification (Paperback) – This book tells the history of fingerprints and how we shouldn’t have blind faith in the technology that defines our individuality.
DNA Fingerprinting – This book explains how modern identification techniques are used in the courts to convict the guilty, free the innocent, and even inspire legal treachery.
The following supplies are available through Amazon.com. Private investigators use specialized equipment and supplies to take prints at the scene of an investigation.
- 100 Applicant Cards, FD-258 version: 11-1-2020
- Large Fingerprint Ink Pad with washable fingerprint ink
- The ink pad will take thousands of fingerprints.
- Fingerprint Card Holder
- Mounted to hand-crafted wooden base, 20″ L x 4″ W x 1″ H
- Barberm, Jacqueline (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 46 Pages – 11/30/2023 (Publication Date) – Gems (Publisher)
- Newest FBI Version 5/15/17
- Produces over 1,000 crisp imprints
- Specially formulated to not dry out
- Inkless (Specially formulated rub-off ink) formula leaves fingers unmarked
- Nontoxic, non messy formula
- Used in banks, schools, offices, for legal documents and more
- Creates clean, true black fingerprints
- Large pad surface for easy to take roll fingerprints
- Porous Polyethylene pad with smooth surface
- No messy, never dries, capacity 5,000 impressions*
Cards, Applicant FD-258, 50 pack – The FBI uses the standard FBI card, form number FD-258, the Bureau of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and many police agencies for noncriminal printing, such as for employment clearances or immigration purposes. Perfect for classroom use. Cards come in packs of 50. These are the most recent versions of the FD-258 cards, with the new privacy statement.
Lee Products Inkless Pad – This “Inkless pad” produces crisp finger imprints on any paper. The pad is specially formulated so as not to dry out.
Fingerprint Pad for roll – This fingerprint pad is 3.5″ X 4.5″, a rub-off Ink Pad (best used for roll printing). The pad is made of a Porous Polyethylene pad with a smooth surface that allows you to gather clean, true black prints. The FBI accepts results produced by this product for classification, search, and retention. No messy, never dry capacity 5,000 impressions. It is suitable for local, state, and federal government background checks.
The following are resources, including in-depth articles, supplies, equipment, and reference books for more information.
- Fingerprinting.com – The website where you can learn everything about the process, its history, and its present-day use. It contains informative and helpful articles, including DNA and related products.
What do Private Investigators Need to Know?
Private investigators may need to examine or lift impressions from a crime scene during an investigation, such as while investigating a theft or when examining the stolen property. Private investigators may also need to track down the results of an analysis with the appropriate labor agency. Many private detectives have experience in law enforcement and conducting crime scene investigations.
If you need to check for fingerprints or to have prints analyzed, contact an investigative agency in your area. To hire a P.I. specializing in these services, please visit our Private Investigator Directory.
If you have questions about fingerprinting, please leave a message below.