We leave fingerprints on everything we touch hundreds of times a day. We leave them on drinking glasses, silverware, toys, door knobs, water faucets, books and more. Even though we leave them everywhere, we don’t notice them at all. At a crime scene though, these left behind prints can be very important. Even one fingerprint can solve a case.
The skin on the palms of our hands and on our fingertips are covered with a pattern of ridges. You don’t even need a microscope to see them. These ridges help us grip things. Every single person has a different pattern of ridges. Even the hands and fingers of identical twins are different. The ridges stay the same throughout a person’s life too. These facts are what make fingerprints so useful for crime scene investigators. Fingerprints don’t lie!
Taking a fingerprint from an object is called picking up latent fingerprints. These are the fingerprints that have been left behind. One way detectives find fingerprints is by dusting the crime scene for them. Fingerprints are coated with powder, then lifted and taken to a lab for identification.
Here are three website that can help you learn all about dusting for fingerprints.
Now try your skills at Fetch’s crime scene at Canine Sniffer Intelligence: Hat Snatcher. Fetch’s hat has been stolen. Look over the crime scene and collect evidence. You have the skills to figure out which suspect is the true thief. Remember what you have learned about fingerprints.