Fingerprinting is one of the most important aspects of the forensic investigation of any crime. For the first time, the fingerprints were used in a murder investigation, in Argentina, 1892. Since then, fingerprints had become a crucial piece of evidence in order to eliminate or establish whether someone committed the crime.
More than a century has passed, and the priority associated with fingerprinting still holds the same position. What has changed is, the way the fingerprints are collected. From taking fingerprints in clay, ink to today's digital fingerprinting, technology has helped sophisticate the process of collecting and storing fingerprints.
Digital Fingerprints are the digital images of one's fingerprints, obtained through a high-resolution optical scanner and stored in an integrated manner along with other background information of an individual.
It takes less than a minute to capture the fingerprints. The images taken are then enhanced for clarity and precision and stored in a centralized database. Electronic fingerprint submissions are now a mandatory requirement while applying for citizenship in Canada, and are widely used in completing background checks all over the country through the RCMP Civil Fingerprint Division or the Canadian Criminal Real Time Identification Services (CCRTIS).
With the increased awareness of the implications of having employed a criminal, most companies require their employees to get their fingerprints submitted to be verified for clearance. There is a high demand for a digital fingerprint-based criminal background check in Canada, with a few organizations having a dedicated department to this effect, and a few outsourcing the verification work to specialized agencies.
Fingerprints are a common and a foolproof evidence left behind in the impulse crimes like assault, murder or theft when there are less planning and time after the crime.
Matching the fingerprints of possible suspects to the already available criminal fingerprint records used to be an incredibly tedious task till the previous decade. At that time, comparing the individual fingerprint pictures was done manually. Often the criminals would never be caught, owing to manual errors during collection of samples of suspects, or while matching them to the physical records present in the department.
Digital Fingerprinting Services have made the life of investigators a lot easier. Collecting the fingerprints from the crime scene makes up more than half the job of identifying the criminal, as the samples can just be uploaded to be digitally checked against the records maintained using the digital fingerprint submissions by common people.
What is better than feeling safe where you live, and having faith that the wrongdoers will be effectively identified and punished by the system. With the centrally stored electronic fingerprints, quick real-time matching of the fingerprints, investigation has become fast and efficient. This has led to assured capturing of the criminals and putting them behind bars.
The crime rate in Canada has fallen by 26% since 2002, and we can also give credit to technology for this reduction. With the advent of CCTV Cameras, Digital fingerprint submissions accessible by the Canadian Police Information Center (CPIC), the mindset of being watched and being hunted down has helped improve the crime status in the country.
By making electronic fingerprint submissions mandatory for various applications, the authorities are still in the process of collecting data for every individual residing/ entering/leaving the country.
Once all the systems start following digital fingerprinting services and biometric authentication system, the crime in the country is expected to reduce further. This breakthrough digital fingerprinting technology has been instrumental in instilling a fear of getting caught in the minds of criminals on the one hand, and on the other hand, it has introduced a newfound faith in the minds of the citizens of Canada for the law and order system.
Making our world a safer place digital fingerprinting is here to stay and is finding roles in other areas beyond crime investigation as well.