Ridge Width Correlations between Inked Prints and Powdered Latent Fingerprints

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A methodology to estimate the time of latent fingerprint deposition would be of great value to law enforcement and courts. It has been observed that ridge topography changes as latent prints age, including the widths of ridges that could be measured as a function of time. Crime suspects are commonly identified using fingerprint databases that contain reference inked tenprints (flat and rolled impressions). These can be of interest in aging studies as they provide baseline information relating to the original (nonaged) ridges’ widths. In practice, the age of latent fingerprints could be estimated following a comparison process between the evidentiary aged print and the corresponding reference inked print. The present article explores possible correlations between inked and fresh latent fingerprints deposited on different substrates and visualized with TiO2. The results indicate that the ridge width of flat inked prints is most similar to fresh latent fingerprints, and these should be used as the comparison standard for future aging studies.

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