Emergence of New Technology and Statistical Analysis to Explore Aging Patterns in Latent Fingerprint Analysis
Abstract Latent fingerprints are a critical component of the evidence that is captured and analyzed from crime scenes and presented for convictions in court. Although fingerprint science has been used for many years in forensics, it is not without many criticisms and critiques from those that believe it is too subjective. Researchers from many disciplines have tried to refute this claim by completing experiments that would eventually lead to a fingerprint aging technique as well as providing statistical models and mathematical support. In this literature review, the research that has been widely published and talked about in this field was reviewed and analyzed to determine what aspects of the experiments are benefitting the study of degradation. By carefully combing through the methods and results of each study, it can be determined where future focuses should be and what disciplines need to be exploited for knowledge. Lastly, an important aspect of the experiments in recent years have depended on the collaboration with statistics so this evidence was examined to identify what models are realistic in determining error rates and likelihood ratios to support latent fingerprint evidence in court. After a thorough review, it is seen that although large strides have been taken to study the degradation of fingerprints, the day where fingerprints will be able to be definitively aged may be ways away. The current experiments have provided methods such as three-dimensional and visual parameters that could potentially find the solution, but also uncovered methods such as immunolabeling and chemical composition that face major challenges. From the statistically point of view, researchers are very close in developing equations that exploit the likelihood ratios of similarity and even calculate the various possible error rates. The evidence found in this review shows that science is one step closer to the age determination of fingerprints.