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Chance Prints – Types and uses for Identification

Home | Chance Prints – Types and uses for Identification

24,Feb 2024

Have you ever wondered how the police identify and arrest criminals citing fingerprints as evidence? Well, this is done by picking up the fingerprints from the crime scene and from the object used for committing a crime. Police pick these prints and compare them with the existing ones in the records. If these prints are not found in the records then they conduct fingerprint tests of all the suspects to identify the culprit and the victim. To know more about this, watch our YouTube video, “Chance Print | Types of Fingerprints| Forensic Science”.

What Are Chance Prints?

Fingerprints that are recovered from the crime scene by forensic experts are called chance prints. These prints are formed when the victim and the culprit come in contact with the objects present at the site. Generally, these prints are invisible but in cases where the culprit comes in contact with materials that leave marks like grease, paints, etc. they are visible. Chance prints are of three types namely:

  • Visible Prints,
  • Invisible or Latent Prints,
  • Plastic Prints.

Importance of Chance Prints:

In cases where there is a lack of witnesses and evidence, chance prints come into the picture. These prints are lifted, examined, and recorded for future reference. No two people on this earth have the same set of fingerprints not even two identical twins have the same fingerprints. Because of being unique, prints act as the unique identity feature of each individual. This helps in the identification of the culprits and the victims present at the crime site.

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How Chance Prints Are Used For Identification?

When chance prints are recovered from the crime scene, these prints are recorded in the database by forensic experts. These experts now compare the chance prints with the visible prints of all the suspects in the case. The recovery process of the prints is done in two ways namely:

  • Black Powder Method: Being black in color this powder allows lifting the prints from every kind of surface and every color object. The powder is dusted on the object from which the prints are meant to be lifted and then through the taping method, the prints are lifted, stored, and analyzed.
  • Inking Method: It is the traditional method of collecting the fingerprints. In this method, a thin coat of ink is used to cover the entire fingerprint area and then each finger is pressed against the sheet and the prints are picked. After this, the ridges of fingers and the patterns are studied and compared with the prints of the suspects in the case. This method is called “Dactyloscopy”.

You will be amazed to know that according to the report of the National Crime Records Bureau, Kerala Police solved 657 cases in the year 2020 using chance fingerprints while Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh Police solved 517 and 412 cases respectively. Hence we can speculate the importance of chance prints through this only.