Fingerprints : Analysis and Understanding book cover
1st Edition

Analysis and Understanding

ISBN 9781420068641
Published November 20, 2008 by CRC Press
142 Pages 69 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The unique composition of the skin on the inner hands and bottom of the feet affords not only a utilitarian benefit in providing friction but also provides a forensic marker for identifying individuals. Fingerprints: Analysis and Understanding is the most fundamental, up-to-date resource available on the techniques of obtaining and analyzing latent fingerprint evidence.

Using an outline format for rapid comprehension, this concise text is as easy to understand by those collecting evidence as it is by those in the branches of criminal justice who need to understand the principles. Divided into two parts, the book begins with the basics of analysis, providing a brief history, systematic methods of identification, fingerprint pattern types and their associated terminologies, and current classifications.

The second section covers the identification and presentation of evidence in the courtroom, demonstrating both the traditional, manual method of lifting prints and the newer techniques for automated and live scans. The book provides instruction on searching and developing latent prints, storage, and comparison of prints.

Author Mark R. Hawthorne is the lead instructor in physical evidence and crime scenes at the San Francisco Police Regional Training Academy. He brings his twenty-nine years experience in police work processing over 3000 crime scenes to present a practical, concise guide to a complex science, helping readers to understand the principles, applications, and uses of fingerprints, whether at the scene, or in the courtroom.



Table of Contents

I. Fingerprint Analysis

The History of Fingerprints

Outline of the History of Fingerprints

Early Nonsystematic Methods of Identification

Study Questions

Systematic Methods of Identification



Definitions Associated with Fingerprints

Fingerprint Patterns and Ridge Characteristics

More Fingerprint Definitions

Study Questions

Fingerprint Pattern Types and AssociatedTerminology

Loop Pattern

Loop Ridge Counting

Radial and Ulnar Loops

Other Issues Pertaining to Loops

Plain Arch and Tented Arch Patterns

The Plain Arch

The Tented Arch

The Whorl Pattern

Plain Whorl

Central Pocket Loop Whorl

Double Loop Whorl

Accidental Whorl

Ridge Tracing and Counting Whorl Patterns

The Palm Print

Study Questions

Classification: Henry with FBI Extension, NCIC, and IAFIS

Henry With FBI Extension

Ridge Count Conversion

Conversion Chart for Ridge Counts


Filing Sequence

NCIC Classification System


Other Fingerprint Systems (Manual Methods or Systems)

Study Questions

 II. Development, Identification, and Presentation of Fingerprints

Known/Direct/Inked Fingerprints; Unknown/ Latent Fingerprints

Known Fingerprints

Manual Method

Live Scan

Unknown Fingerprints (Commonly Referred to as Latent Prints)

Conditions Affecting Latent Prints

The Crime Scene Search and Fingerprint Development

Fingerprint Development Techniques (see Appendix A)

Powder Techniques

Chemical Techniques

Procedure After Developing Prints

Fingerprint Comparison and Identification

Study Questions

Court Presentation


Court Presentation




Challenges to the Science of Fingerprints

Study Questions

Appendix A

Appendix B



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