Essay Example on 19th Century Identification & Crime Investigation

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1291 Words
Date:  2023-03-02


Identification of people and crime investigation can be traced back to the 19th century. The fingerprint was used as the only way of identifying people. In 1858, Sir Willian Herschel required workers to sign contracts using thumbprints. In 1882, a French anthropologist called Alphonse Bertillon suggested body measurement as a way of classifying people. He came up with a method he will use to measure people's body parts and keeping the record on cards. Juan Vucetich was the first police officer in Argentina to introduce the use of fingerprints to investigate and identify criminals. He used fingerprinting to investigate a murder case in 1891. Later in the early 20th century (1901), Sir Edward Henry was the first police officer to develop a system that classified fingerprints. England was the first country to adopt this system. After the 1903 case dilemma about Will West, police started to doubt the accuracy of the Bertillon measurement. Prisons began to use fingerprints as an accurate identification method. Between 1905 and 1917, police developed fingerprint cards and palm print. In 1980, developers developed the first fingerprint database (Berry & Stoney, 2001). Investigation departments around the world are using this database for the identification of people. This system is the most accurate method that every country is using.

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Fundamental Principles of Fingerprints

Individual characteristic. Up to date, there is no individual with two fingers that has a similar ridge pattern. This unique characteristic is personal in that even the identical twins do not share thumbprints. The profiles of a fingerprint depend on the minutiae (ridge characteristics) and not the general pattern of shape. When doing print matching, the two fingerprints in question should possess identical characteristics and with the same relative location. The forensic investigators make a point-by-point comparison of prints to determine and confirm the identity of a person. When there is a partial impression of the thumbprints, the investigator will only compare the visible ridges patterns to assess the recorded fingerprints (Hawthorne, 2017). A person is believed to have about 150 ridge patterns. When making a ridge comparison in the event of a crime, eight to sixteen ridges are enough to prove the prints as similar. Nevertheless, the final resulting of print matching is determined by the expertise of the forensic officer.

Fingerprints do not change in the entire life of a person. The prints may enlarge due to physical growth; however, the ridge pattern remains the same. This characteristic makes them essential for authentication, application of biometrics, and management of people's identity. Although they may disappear or distort as a result of aging, medication, and injury (Hawthorne, 2017). The layers of the skin determine the characteristics of every person's ridges. Once these layers have developed fully, the ridge characteristics will remain unchanged for the rest of the individual's life.

Fingerprints have unique ridge characteristics that allow for systematic classification. They belong to three categories based on the pattern. These groups included loops, arches, and whorls. Forensic scientists and experts proved that up to 65 percent of people have loops, and up to 5 and 35 percent have arches and whorls, respectively (Hawthorne, 2017). Loops differ from other categories because it enters from one side of the thumbprint and exists from of the other. The whorls are sub-grouped into a double loop, plain central pocket loop, and accidental loop. They are circular or round. Arches are a type of prints that has ridgelines that enters the thumbprint from one side and exits from the other.

Application of CODIS in Law Enforcement

CODIS is the most substantial crime investigation tool that applied the knowledge of DNA-typing. The Federal Bureau of investigation developed this software to help them differentiate and identify the DNA profiles of a convicted criminal, missing people, and unsolved evidence from the scene of the crime. This technology enables forensic investigators to compare and analyze DNA profiles obtained from crime-scene proofs. A lot of CODIS matches are associated with criminals who are committing serial crimes. This matching is helping law enforcement officials to match the evidenced of crime-scene to identify lawbreakers. In the pursuit of justice, the application of CODIS is making the whole process of investigation easier. It is easier to identify criminals using blood and saliva samples, and a hair that is recovered from the crime scene (Hares, 2012). This scientific technology has enhanced law enforcement. Millions of DNA strands are available in the government databases: therefore, making this process complicated. CODIS is the only tool that can solve these complications and ensure that the offenders are brought to book.

Law enforcement officials take DNA profiles generated from samples retrieved from the crime scene and start searching for the match from the millions of DNA profiles kept in the national database. If the results of the search are positive, law enforcers will be able to know the identity of the suspect. In case confirmation using the forensic index, the suspected criminal has more than one criminal record recorded in the government database. Regardless of the multiple criminal records found, the identity of the criminal may still be unknown. The law agencies will further obtain samples from the criminal, analyze it, and it can act as evidence in law courts.

Are There Needs for New Criminalistics Technologies for Massive Tragedies?

There is a need to use new technologies to identify criminals who cause massive tragedies. Some criminals conceal their identity whenever they want to commit a crime. They can wear gloves and face marks to ensure that they do not leave behind any sample which can be used to track them. The government should come up with technologies that will time-trace the prints of suspects, which will disclose when the suspects left the fingerprints. This criminalistic technology will enable the investigators to identify the thumbprints that were left before the tragedy occurred. There is also a need to make the family connection of people who come into the country, so that in case of a massive tragedy, and the suspects have disappeared; they can use family DNA to identify the offender. This technology will also help forensic scientists to solve crimes where there are many suspects. It requires rapid DNA analysis. In the event of mass destruction and death of people, the victim might be among the dead; the investigators will have to use advanced technology such as Massive Parallel Sequencing to identify criminals from those who are dead. It gives a lot of information concerning the DNA profiles of the convicts.

Application and Critical Thinking

DNA molecule: C-G-A-A-T-C-G-C-A-A-T-C-G-A-C-C-T-G

Subsequent base: G-C-T-T-A-G-C-G-T-T-A-G-C-T-G-G-A-C

The main challenge forensic analysist face when doing a DNA typing of the badly decomposed body is that the autopsy evaluations are not easy. They can use STR analysis to test their theory because DNA profiling procedure is not susceptible to severe decomposition.

The sample characterizes a more significant percentage of the population. Where there are few STR strands, it implies that a higher percentage of people can emanate from the particular combination.

The sample obtained from the women showed the identification of the criminal. The amelogenin DNA of the victim matched with that one of the people who mugged her.

The potential source of DNA from the items obtained in a crime scene

(a)- saliva

(b)- sweat

(c)- skin cell

(d)- saliva

(e)- skin cells

(f)- semen

(g)- saliva


The remains belong to Dittman. The comparison of the alleles shows that the sample obtained is the source of the DNA. The DNA profile received originated from the sample obtained from the decomposed body.


Berry, J., & Stoney, D. A. (2001). The history and development of fingerprinting. Advances in fingerprint Technology, 2, 13-52.

Hares, D. R. (2012). Expanding the CODIS core loci in the United States. Forensic Science International: Genetics, 6(1), e52-e54.

Hawthorne, M. (2017). Fingerprints: analysis and understanding. CRC Press.

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