Fingerprints

This passage details the history of using fingerprints in crime investigations.

Lexile Level: 820L

Categories: History Science & Technology


Even though they look all look alike, it is commonly said that no two snowflakes are the same. Each fingerprint is unique in the same way. Look at your fingerprints. They are as unique as your face. When you touch a smooth surface like a drinking glass or doorknob, the oils in your skin leave your fingerprint pattern there. Frequently, detectives use fingerprints left at crime scenes to identify who was there. It took some time, though, for scientists to convince police that fingerprints could be used like this. Law enforcement eventually caught on. The first Fingerprint Bureau was created in India in 1897. They named the shapes and patterns common to all prints. The three basic shapes are the arch, whorl, and loop. Within a few years, Scotland Yard, which is the London police, was fingerprinting criminals. They would ink a criminal's finger and print it onto paper like a rubber stamp. Today fingerprint matching can be done accurately by computers.


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