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Minerva Medicolegale 2008 March;128(1):9-18


language: Italian

Non identifiable subjects for illegible fingerprints: a decisive method of comparison of palmprints (apis) successfully used by the scientific police

Giuliano A.

Gabinetto Interregionale di Polizia Scientifica per il Piemonte e la Valle d’Aosta di Torino Polizia di Stato, Torino


The validity of the fingerprints for the recidivists’ identification has been known since a long time. It is as well known that some people can adopt tricks to alter or to obliterate their fingerprint thus avoiding the identification. From a reduced number of cases in the past, this phenomenon has now arised to substantial proportions. Italy, as well as other countries, is concerned. As a matter of fact many African natives, who have been taken fingerprints and most of whom are drug dealers, show a consumption of their fingertips. This consumption makes the readibility of their fingerprints extremely difficult. Turin is mostly interested by this phenomenon which shows a continuous increasing. The Regional Centre of Forensic Science Police Service studies and monitorates this phenomenon. Although some cases were solved by employing techniques for taking fingerprints more effective than the inked methods, in most cases the identification of the subjects failed due to the above mentioned papillary alteration. In these cases, no match with Automated Fingerprint Identifica-tion System (AFIS), a computerized system employed by the Scientific Police fingerprint experts for the recidivists’ identification, was obtained. Nevertheless, for some of these difficult cases of identification, it has been shown that, level with the palm, the papillary ridge is well preserved and can be easily taken. Since the palmprint has the same identification validity, the Automated Palmprint Identification System, analogous to the AFIS and recently adopted by Rome’s Central Bureau of Forensic Science Police Service, has been utilized. Its use has shown to be decisive.

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