Fingerprint Types

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History of Fingerprints
Basic Principles
Fingerprint Types

Three kinds of fingerprints are found at crime scenes;

Latent prints

These prints are formed by the oil and sweat secretions deposited by a person's fingers when they touch a surface or an object. They are invisible to the naked eye and need some kind of treatment to make them visible. Follow this link to find out more about the detection of latent prints;


Visible prints

If a criminal's fingers are contaminated with blood, ink or some other coloured substance they can leave very visible prints, unfortunately for the investigator this kind of print is not very common at a crime scene.

Plastic (or molded) prints

The final kind of print is when the impression of a person's fingers are left in a soft substance, such as wax, soap or putty. Again these are not very common.


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Copyright 2000-2005  Deakin University, Comments to Author: Associate Professor Simon W. Lewis  Revised: June 13, 2005